When deciding to breastfeed, please take into consideration the following information. When you breastfeed, you are giving your infant a healthy start that will last a lifetime. As we are pro-breastfeeding and will talk about the benefits of breastfeeding for you and your infant, always remember that you and your baby are unique and the decision to breastfeed is up to you.
Many medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend exclusively breastfeeding for at least 6 months. After introducing first foods, they recommend continuing to breastfeed through your child’s first year of life.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby
Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat….everything your baby needs to grow. It’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that assist your baby in fighting off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in some studies. The physical closeness, skin to skin touching, and eye contact help you bond with your child and assist them in feeling secure. The AAP says breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom
Breastfeeding burns extra calories which can assist in loosing pregnancy weight faster. Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also limits time and money since you don’t have to buy and measure formula, sterilize nipples, or warm bottles. It gives a mom regular time to relax quietly with their newborn while they bond together. Breastfeeding leads to a lower risk of health problems in moms such as Type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Society
• Breastfeeding saves lives. Research shows that if 90% of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented each year.
• Breastfeeding saves money. Medical costs may be lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants usually need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
• Breastfeeding also helps make a more productive workforce. Mothers who breastfeed may miss less work to care for sick infants than mothers who feed their infants formula. Employer medical costs may also be lower.
• Breastfeeding is better for the environment. Formula cans and bottle supplies create more trash and plastic waste. Your milk is a renewable resource that comes packaged and warmed.