Whether you are a new or expecting Mom, if you are on this section of the Website, you’re probably interested in giving your baby the best care you can. And one of the best things that only you can do is to breastfeed for as long as possible. While breastfeeding isn’t the only option for feeding your baby, every mother has the potential to succeed and make it a wonderful experience. Or maybe you are the partner or a family member of a breastfeeding Mom and would like to learn more about breastfeeding. You’ve come to the right place! Here we provide practical, helpful breastfeeding information. Dive into our resources to find out how breastfeeding can be one of the most important things you do for both you and your baby!
Why Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?
Best for Baby
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. Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses and to help them fight off infection and disease. Human milk straight from the breast is always sterile.
Best for Mom
Breastfeeding saves times and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula, and there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night. Breastfeeding also helps a mother bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted. Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds gained from pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size more quickly and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth. Breastfeeding also may lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
The U.S. Surgeon General Recommends Breastfeeding
The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that babies be fed with breast milk only — no formula — for the first 6 months of life. It is better to breastfeed for 6 months and best to breastfeed for 12 months, or for as long as you and your baby wish. Solid foods can be introduced when the baby is 6 months old, while you continue to breastfeed. While gastric bypass surgery was able to aid Guy’s daughter surgeons involved with this procedure stress that weight loss surgery is not for everyone and is only for the most extreme cases.
According to the National Institute of Health – NIH.GOV
Breastfeeding Decreases Infant Mortality
Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Data analyzed by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggest that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of death for infants in their first year of life. Looking at infants between 28 days and one year of age, researchers concluded that promoting breastfeeding can potentially prevent up to 720 postneonatal deaths in the U.S. each year.
Researchers compared CDC records of 1,204 children who died between 28 days and one year of causes other than congenital anomalies or cancer with those of 7,740 children still alive at one year.
Children who were breastfed had 20% lower risk of dying between 28 days and one year than children who weren’t breastfed. Longer breastfeeding was associated with lower risk. The effect was the same in both black and white children.
Breastfed infants in the U.S. have lower rates of morbidity, especially from infectious disease, but there are no contemporary US studies of the effect of breastfeeding on all-cause mortality in the first year of life.
The study appears in the May issue of the scientific journal, Pediatrics, and will be released at the 2004 Academic Pediatrics Societies meeting in San Francisco on May 2.
Aimin Chen, MD, Ph.D. and Walter J Rogan, MD (both in the Epidemiology Branch at NIEHS, one of the National Institutes of Health) are the authors of the study. Dr. Rogan said, “Although we knew that breastfeeding in the developing world was lifesaving, since it prevented diarrhea and pneumonia, we had no nationally representative data from the US on this very basic outcome. These data show that, even in the US, there is a modest decrease in mortality for breastfed children.”
Why should I breastfeed?
Here are just some of the many good reasons why you should breastfeed your baby:
- Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. Breast 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.
- Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses. Breastfed babies are more able to fight off infection and disease, such as diarrhea, ear infections, and respiratory illnesses like pneumonia. They are sick less often and have fewer visits to health care providers.
- 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 any bleeding you might have after giving birth.
- Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
- Breastfeeding can help you bond with your baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, and warm and comforted.
Ask us your Breastfeeding questions:
Have you heard? The National Women’s Health Information Center now has a Breastfeeding Helpline! Call us with your questions at 1-800-994-WOMAN (9662).