Breastfeeding benefits for the whole family
When you breastfeed, you give your baby a healthy start that lasts a lifetime. Chaka Davis, MSN, explained breastfeeding benefits for baby, mom and the whole family.
Benefits for baby
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued until one year or longer as mutually desired by the mother and infant.
- Babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months have a decreased risk for ear infections and a decrease in risk for lower respiratory infections.
- Babies who are breastfed for at least one year are half as likely to have any illness and are less likely to be hospitalized for any bacterial infection. They can be four times less likely to have diarrheal diseases.
- Breastfed infants are at a reduced risk for developing insulin-dependent diabetes.
- Breastfed babies have fewer incidences of childhood cancers.
- Breastmilk changes with your baby’s needs, providing your baby with all the nutrients needed in the right amounts as your baby grows.
- Breastmilk is typically easy to digest and gentle on your baby’s stomach leading to less constipation.
- Breastfed infants and children have a significantly reduced rate of food allergies. They often are protected from asthma and allergies because of immunologic properties of breastmilk.
- Breastfeeding has been shown to contribute to lower incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity.
Benefits for mom
- Breastfeeding helps to quickly reduce the uterus to its normal size and prevent excessive bleeding following birth.
- Breastfeeding contributes to lower incidence of uterine, ovarian and breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding relaxes mom. The hormone that produces milk has a relaxing effect on mom and can reduce the incidence of postpartum depression.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Breastfeeding can help mom lose some of the weight she gained during pregnancy. It burns about 500 calories each day.
Benefits for the entire family
- Breastmilk is always ready.
- Because breastfed babies generally are sick less often, working parents may miss fewer days on the job because of infant illness.
- Breastfeeding is cost effective as you do not need to buy formula.
“Breastfeeding has many benefits. However, it is not uncommon to experience difficulties along your breastfeeding journey. If you are having difficulty with breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant for breastfeeding support. Lactation consultants can offer great tips and assist you with developing a breastfeeding plan that works for you and your family,” said Davis.
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