General nutrition- Breastfeeding
All expectant mothers and fathers want to give their babies the best start in life. Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition possible. For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. Breast milk has all the nutrients your baby needs, and in just the right amounts for the first 6 months without adding water, formula, or solid foods. Ideally, babies should breastfeed for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby.
Benefits for Babies, Moms, and Families
Breastfeeding can also reduce the risk for certain health conditions for both infants and mothers. Breast milk has disease-fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs, illness, and even SIDS. Infant formula cannot match the exact chemical makeup of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease. Breastfeeding is an investment in the health of mother and baby, not just a lifestyle decision.
Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of these health conditions
- Ear infections
- Stomach viruses
- Diarrhea and Constipation
- Respiratory infections
- Atopic dermatitis
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- Childhood leukemia
- Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS
Other Benefits to Breastfeeding Include:
- When you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. Unlike human milk straight from the breast, infant formula has a risk of being contaminated.
- Breastfeeding can help make your life a little easier. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!
- Breast milk is free and ecofriendly. Breastfeeding can save you between $1,160 and $3,915 per year, depending on the brand of formula.
- Breast milk is always available and always the right temperature and feeding can be done discreetly. Breast milk is portable and doesn’t require extra planning when you want to leave the house.
- Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself. Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin (commonly called the maternal hormone), which helps both mother and infant.
- Breastfeeding is good for bonding and provides moms with special moments to share with their baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted.
- Breastfeeding helps mom’s tummy and weight return to normal more quickly. Breastfeeding women burn about 600 additional calories per day.
- Breastfed babies have seedy yellow stools with little odor.
We know that breastfeeding can take some effort, especially if you don’t have needed support. There are organizations, programs and resources available to help you successfully breastfeed. For more information, please visit the following websites: