I have experienced first hand many, if not all, of the benefits of breastfeeding I read and learned about, plus more!
1.) Intimate bond with your baby. Yes, I bonded with all of my children, even the bottle fed ones. But there is a closeness, an intimacy you have with your baby when you breastfeed that cannot be described to anyone that hasn't breastfed.
2.) Sensitivity to your babies needs. In my experience, I am much more responsive and compassionate to Silas's cries and needs than I was with the others. Not that I love him more or anything like that! How could you love one child more than another? It's just an urgency I feel when he's crying; an importance of his needs, not an annoyance.
3.) Way easier! That's an understatement. In the middle of the night, you don't have to get up and fix a bottle and hold a bottle and stay awake to feed baby. You can roll over, feed him, fall asleep, and repeat without ever leaving your bed (if you co sleep). If you don't co sleep you still just grab your baby and feed him. You don't have to wash bottles, pack bottles, pack formula, buy formula, mix formula, etc. Breastmilk is always available, always the right temperature, and always the right formulation for you baby.
4.) Immunity for you baby. Did you know that your breastmilk changes to meet the needs of your baby?Did you know that when your sick, your breastmilk produces antibodies against that particular illness for your baby? The longer you breastfeed, the longer your baby reaps immunity and benefits from mother's best.
These are just a few examples. I could go on and on! The benefits are almost endless.
Breastfeeding has been so wonderful for me. The thought of weaning is sad to me, so my plans as of now are to let Silas self-wean. We are going to breastfeed as long as he needs it, even if he just nurses for comfort at night, or even every few days. In our country, some people think that extended nursing is weird and makes people uncomfortable. But God designed women to bear children and breastfeed. Or, as my The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book says on the cover,
Babies are born to breastfeed!