Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby and Mom
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and intimate of all human interactions, but in the first few weeks with your newborn, it can be overwhelming and challenging. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and World Breastfeeding Week, and in appreciation of these campaigns, we are sharing some helpful information on breastfeeding and the nutritional value it can bring to mom and baby.
The national and world breastfeeding awareness campaigns are to empower women to commit to breastfeeding. Research suggests that breastfeeding can greatly help reduce many of mom’s worries about their newborns. According to recent studies, breastfeeding can:
- Lower your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by almost half.
- Reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like type I diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.
- Reduce ear infections, asthma, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, and childhood obesity.
- Help with a faster recovery from pregnancy and childbirth; when your baby nurses, it helps your uterus contract, reducing post-delivery blood loss.
- Help your uterus return to its normal size more quickly—at about six weeks post-delivery, compared with 10 weeks if you don’t breastfeed.
- Help you use more calories per day. Breast milk contains 20 calories per ounce. So if you are feeding your baby an average of 20 ounces a day, you are losing 400 calories per day.
- Breast milk matures with the baby, giving them exactly the nutrients and antibodies they need to grow strong.
- Has a better antibody response to vaccines than formula.
- Save you money. The cost of formula can range anywhere from $134 to $491 per month. You can be saving between $1,608 and $5,892 in one year, just by breastfeeding.
There are many resources for moms – from buying your first nursing bra to deciding when to wean, from getting the proper latch and making the right food choices while breastfeeding to tips on how to keep breastfeeding when you go back to work. Here are just a few online resources that we’ve found most helpful for moms:
Breastfeeding Guide for the Whole First Year
Fit Pregnancy provides a helpful online guide that will walk you through the stages of breastfeeding month-by-month and can address any concerns you might have.
Feeding Basics: Print Out Guide
Parents Magazine’s Feeding Basics Guide is a great “getting started” guide to breastfeeding with helpful tips and information.
Breastfeeding Advice Videos
WomensHealth.gov provides quick videos and advice from real women on breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Problem Solver
BabyCenter allows you to enter symptoms on the site, and based on the information, it provides suggestions. It doesn’t replace your doctor or midwife, but it’s a way to get some additional information on what you and baby are experiencing.