How breastfeeding is best for you and your baby
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first 6 months. After six months gradually introduce iron-enriched solid foods to complement the breast milk diet. It is further recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter, for as long as mutually desired.
Breastfeeding is more than just food:
- It is beginning of a special relationship between you and your baby. When you breastfeed, you have a relationship with your baby that no one else can have.
- Breast milk is a special food that supplies perfect nutrition for your baby. Each time you breastfeed you will also be helping your baby fight germs.
- Your breast milk is always available when your baby wants it. Anywhere. Anytime.
- You can be sure your breast milk is pure, clean, and safe.
- Your breast milk changes to meet the needs of your growing baby. Formula stays the same.
- Babies need different amounts of food. Breastfed babies get just the right amount.
Breastfeeding benefits for the baby:
- Less likelihood of developing asthma
- Protects against some childhood cancers
- Reduced risk of Type-1 Diabetes
- Improved mental development
- Breastmilk is easily digested, so it is less likely to cause digestive problems such as diarrhea
- Fewer lower respiratory infections
- Fewer urinary tract infection
- Less bacterial meningitis
- Fewer ear infections
- Babies who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to become obese later in life
- Less likely to develop allergies
If breastfed babies do get sick, the illness is usually milder and doesn't last as long.
Breastfeeding benefits for the mother:
- Less bleeding after giving birth
- Reduced risk of ovarian cancer
- Reduced risk of breast cancer
- Reduced risk of anemia
- Reduced risk of osteoperosis
- Quicker weight loss after giving birth
- Less bone decay and fewer hip fractures in old age
- Breastfeeding helps foster a special bond with your baby
- Sitting down to breastfeed will help you rest and regain your strength after pregnancy
- Breastfeeding hormones will help you relax and feel close to your baby.
Breastfeeding saves money:
Formula is expensive, a years worth of standard formula costs at least $1800. You will also spend money on bottles, nipples, and other equipment. If you are on the WIC Program and you decide not to breastfeed, WIC supplies only some of the formula your baby will need. You will have to buy more formula than WIC supplies.
Breastfeeding helps the environment:
Breastfeeding is natural and good for the environment. There is no waste. Formula cans and old bottles contribute to landfills.
More advantages to breastfeeding:
- Breastfeeding is convenient! It’s always ready when baby is hungry.
- You will not need to wash bottles or heat formula. Your milk is naturally clean and warm. You won't need to stumble around in the dark to make your baby's bottle. Your milk is ready and warm. Because breastfeeding leads to better infant health, you will not have to miss work to care for a sick child as frequently.
- Breastfed babies smell sweeter and their diapers do not have an unpleasant odor.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to spit up than formula-fed babies. When they do, it does not stain like formula.
When not to breastfeed:
- An infant whose mother uses illegal drugs, abuses alcohol, has untreated active tuberculosis or has HIV should not be breastfed.
- Although most medications are safe for the breastfed infant, there are a few medications that mothers may need to take that may make it necessary to interrupt breastfeeding temporarily. Call Teratology Information Specialists at (866) 626-6847 to find out if the medication you are taking is safe.