The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Posted by on April 9, 2014 under Everything Baby | Be the First to Comment

Breastfeeding benefits for mom and babyWhy Breastfeed?

Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Not all parents are able to breastfeed, but for those who have the option, there is no better food for your new child. In addition to the emotional fulfillment and joyful bonding between parents and children while breastfeeding, the health benefits for both parent and your new baby are well-documented.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) until your child is six months old.  As you begin to introduce foods, complimentary breastfeeding is recommended until your child is at least 1 year or older.

Breastfeeding Benefits for Your Baby:

The unique bonding experience of breastfeeding benefits both you and your baby. Breastfeeding has been proven to help protect your baby from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, ear infections, allergies, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections and much more. Breastfeeding your baby can also reduce his or her risk of developing diabetes or becoming obese later in life. Breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that help protect your baby from illness. The colostrum a birth mother produces for her baby in the first few days of nursing is rich with a protective substance that coats your baby’s mucous membranes and guards against invading germs.

Breastfeeding significantly reduces your baby’s risk of developing:

  • Ear Infections
  • Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
  • Gastrointestinal Tract Infections, which can lead to an increased risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Allergies
  • Celiac Disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Breastfeeding Benefits for You and Your Family:

Besides the emotional satisfaction of connecting with your baby through nursing, breastfeeding provides significant health and practical benefits to new parents. Breastfeeding releases the hormones prolactin and oxytocin, which produce a peaceful, nurturing sensation and encourage strong love and attachment to your child. Oxytocin also helps birth mothers recover from childbirth more easily, reducing postpartum bleeding and helping the uterus return to its pre-childbirth size more quickly. Because your body requires more calories to produce breastmilk, breastfeeding speeds the birth mother’s loss of baby weight, and studies show a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer among women who have breast feed. Breast milk is less expensive than formula, and in many instances – such as night feedings – it can be much more convenient than needing to prepare formula.

Breastfeeding can reduce a woman’s risk of:

  • Postpartum depression
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Breastfeeding Tools

There are times when a breastfeeding parent can’t be present for a feeding. However, with the use of breast pumps, a lactating parent can safely express and store unused breast milk to be used at a later date. A comfortable, efficient breast pump is an essential tool for a lactating parent. TotalHomeCareBaby is happy to carry the hospital-recommended Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump and Ameda breast pump accessories. Nursing pads are highly recommended for nipple comfort and discreet protection against leakage.

Safely stored breast milk can also be used by a non-lactating parent to help with feedings, and so that parent can also enjoy the bonding experience of breastfeeding their baby.

For more information on breastfeeding, visit Womenshealth.govHealthyChildren.org and La Leche League.

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