Friday, Aug 14, 2015
Breastfeeding is considered the best nutritional option for babies by the major medical organizations, including The American Academy of Pediatrics. But it's not always easy, and it isn’t right for every mother. For moms who are unable to breastfeed, or decide not to, commercially prepared infant formulas is a nutritious alternative. In recognition of August being Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we are diving into the benefits of breastfeeding.
Nursing can be a wonderful experience for mom and baby. Here are some of the many benefits for the baby:
- Infection-fighting. Antibodies passed from a nursing mother to her baby can help lower the occurrence of many conditions. Breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants.
- Easily digested. Often called the "perfect food" for a human baby's digestive system, breastfed infants have less difficulty with digestion than do formula-fed infants.
- Convenient. Breast milk is always fresh and available, eliminating the need for last-minute runs to the store for more formula.
- Smarter babies. Studies suggest that infants who were exclusively breastfed have slightly higher IQs than babies who were formula fed.
Beneficial for Mom, too
In addition to its benefits for newborns, breastfeeding is great for moms, too.
- Lowers risk. Decreases a women’s risk of developing breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and also may help decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
- Lose weight. Mothers who breastfeed are able to naturally lose weight gained during pregnancy and are also able to recover faster due to the hormones found in breast milk.
- Save money. What mothers lose in weight, they gain in savings because breast feeding is economically beneficial. In fact the Office of Women’s Health reports savings of more than $1,200 - $1,500 in formula-related expenses in the first year after childbirth.
Baby bonding. Many nursing mothers really enjoy the experience of bonding so closely with their babies. And the skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection between mother and infant.
A Helping Hand
Unmistakably, professional and emotional support helps motivate mothers to initiate and continue breastfeeding. In fact, recent legislature in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 mandates that employers allow women the time to provide breast milk for their babies during the workday. As the nation continues to grow in support for breastfeeding, more women are starting to consider it before they give birth.
Sometimes, both mother and baby need plenty of patience and persistence to get used to the routine of breastfeeding. But all the effort is often worth it in the long run — for both the mother and her baby.
Our lactation nurses have a few tricks up their sleeves that might make this natural, healthy, cost-effective way to feed your baby just a little easier.
Harbin Clinic Lactation Services are available to all Harbin Clinic Pediatrics patients. Our lactation nurses work closely with you to provide breastfeeding education and support. This service is offered in a comfortable and private environment within our offices.