Breastfeeding

There are many benefits to breastfeeding. Even if you are able to do it for only a short time, your baby’s immune system can benefit from breast milk. Here are many other benefits of breast milk for a mother, her baby, and others:

Benefits for baby:

  • Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. A mother’s milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby’s growth and development. Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula.
  • As a result, breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight. This may result in being less overweight later in life.

Benefits for mom:

  • Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and lessens bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding (no supplementing with formula), delays the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. (However, you should still talk with your doctor or midwife about birth control choices.)
  • Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
  • Breastfeeding makes your life easier. It saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!
  • Breastfeeding can help a mother to bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.

Benefits for society:

  • Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations
  • Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

Internet Resources

Evidence based lactation information – http://www.kellymom.com/index.html
US Department of Health and Human Services – http://www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding
La Leche League – http://www.llli.org

 

Leave a Reply