Breastfeeding benefits for mom and baby

Throughout the pregnancy process, one question that’s often asked is, “are you going to breastfeed?” Just like pregnancy, labor, and delivery, each woman’s experience is unique. Once making the decision, the process can come very naturally and easily to some moms, and for others, it can be difficult. It is important to remember that each of these paths is perfectly normal and receiving help is highly encouraged. If you need support, the team at Renaissance Women’s Group can help you be successful along the path of new or expanding parenthood.

Breastfeeding is strongly encouraged because it’s so beneficial to the mother and baby. Aside from nutritional and bonding enhancements, it can also reduce health risks for some short- and long-term conditions. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the best source of nutrition for infants according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and many expert medical sources.  Learn how breastfeeding is beneficial for both mother and baby.

Advanced nutrition and development

Human milk by design has all the nutritional needs that your baby requires to be in good health. In the first few months of life, an infant can receive all essential nutrients and energy from breastmilk. Commonly known as “liquid gold,” colostrum is found in early mothers’ milk. It is thick, yellow and provides:

  • essential nutrients that are high in carbohydrates and protein but low in fat
  • concentrated antibodies to fight disease and protection
  • development of the digestive tract immune system
  • laxative properties for the baby’s first bowel movement

Protection from illness

As your baby grows, breast milk will evolve to meet their needs. Comprised of healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, are also prevalent, which enhances brain growth and development. This is especially crucial in preterm babies who may have missed specific markers from the final trimester of pregnancy. In addition to nutrients, breast milk has cells, hormones, and antibodies in that help safeguard infants from illness, including, but not limited to:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Obesity
  • Colds and infections
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ear and respiratory infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting)
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)

Benefit to mother

Carrying and delivering a child affects your body in many ways. The uterus expands immensely and post-partum goes through the process of involution to help return the organ to its original size. Studies have shown that oxytocin released during breastfeeding helps with this process. This is one of many benefits breastfeeding can provide to new mothers, other benefits include:

  • risk reduction of heart disease
  • decreased menstrual blood loss
  • risk reduction of post-partum hemorrhage
  • decreased chance of postnatal depression
  • expedited return to pre-pregnancy weight
  • risk reduction of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer

Enhanced bond between mother and baby

Another benefit of oxytocin is enhanced bonding between mother and baby. As a result, breastfeeding enhances the closeness between mother and baby. Through the physical comfort that keeps the baby feeling secure and comforted, the hormone will help simultaneously signal the flow of breastmilk why physically calming the mother. Some women feel a warm and tingling sensation when this occurs and some do not, but it can be happening in either instance. Other bonding benefits include:

  • reassurance of a mother’s physical presence is felt by the newborn
  • for some, hormonal changes can encourage a sense of enhanced maternal caregiving
  • an emotional bond that relates to the nutritional value of breastmilk

Time and Money

According to standard costs, a family may save more than $500 by following the World Health Organization’s recommendation to breast-feed a child for the first six months. Because breastfeeding provides essential antibodies and immune system benefits, there could also be long-term savings. Statistically, medical costs tend to be lower for breastfed infants than non-breastfed infants due to decreased doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations due to illness. Other cost and time savings can include:

  • zero waste
  • cost of formula
  • time spent cleaning and sterilizing bottles
  • bottle preparation process (mixing and heating formula)
  • breastfeeding equipment is often provided for free by insurance and can also be tax-deductible

 


Sources:
“About Breastfeeding” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov, page last reviewed: 2/5/19
“Making the decision to breastfeed” Office on Women’s Health, womenshealth.gov, page last updated: 3/14/19
“Benefits of Breastfeeding” American Academy of Pediatrics, aap.org, copyright 2019.
“Breastfeeding Benefits Your Baby’s Immune System” American Academy of Pediatrics, healthychildren.org, last updated 8/8/16
“Breastfeeding” World Health Organization, who.int, copyright 2019 WHO.
“Benefits of Breastfeeding” unicef, unicef.org.uk, copyright 2019.

The personal attention you deserve.