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After Pregnancy

Why should I breastfeed?

There are many reasons breastfeeding is good for you and your baby!

Benefits for the baby:

  1. Liquid Gold: Sometimes known as liquid gold, colostrum is the thick yellow breast milk a mother produces when her baby is born. This milk is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies. Although the baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, it is the right amount for his or her tiny stomach.

  2. The perfect food: Colostrum changes to mature breast milk 3-5 days after birth. Breast milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein and antibodies for help a baby grow.

  3. Easier to digest: For most babies, especially premature babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow's milk and it takes time for babies' stomach to adjust to digesting them.

  4. Skin-to-Skin time: Physical contact is important to newborns. It can help them feel more secure, warm, comforted and connected to mom.

  5. Disease prevention: Cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and formula cannot match the natural components of human breast milk. Babies who are breastfed tend to have lower rates of:
    • Respiratory infections
    • Asthma
    • Obesity
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Some research shows that breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of Type 1 diabetes, leukemia, and atopic dermatitis.

  6. Reduces the risk for SIDS: Breastfeeding has been shown to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Click here for more information on SIDS.

Benefits for the mother

  1. It can be easier: When you breastfeed, there are no bottles to clean and sterilize. You do not have to buy, measure and mix formula. You can satisfy your baby's cravings as soon as he or she is hungry.

  2. It can be cheaper: Formula and bottles can cost well over $1,500 each year, depending on how much your baby eats.

  3. Breastfeeding can feel great: Mothers can benefit from the closeness as well. Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time to bond. The skin-to-skin contact can boost the mother's oxytocin hormone levels, which help milk flow and can calm the mother.

  4. Health benefits for mom: Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of:
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Breast cancer
    • Ovarian cancer
    • Postpartum depression

  5. Mothers miss less work: Breastfeeding mothers miss fewer days from work because their infants are sick less often.

  6. Helps you get back into shape: Breastfeeding mothers burn calories naturally because of the calories used in milk production. It is recommended that moms add calories to their diets when they are breastfeeding. Not consuming enough calories can affect the milk supply.

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Last updated: May 2015

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