Why is Breastfeeding Important for your Baby?
Breast milk is nature’s perfect food. What is in breast milk?
By breastfeeding, you are giving your baby food designed to meet his needs. Breast milk is the complete food for infants. It changes as your baby grows.
The ingredients in breast milk and breast milk composition cannot be manufactured. Breast milk has living cells that fight off illnesses. It has ingredients that ensure proper brain and eye development and a healthy immune system and digestive tract. Breast milk protects your baby from allergies.
Breast milk helps keep your baby healthy.
- It supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions.
- It protects against allergies, sickness, and obesity.
- It protects against diseases, like diabetes and cancer.
- It protects against infections, like ear infections.
- It is easily digested – no constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach.
- Babies have healthier weights as they grow.
- Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests.
Breast milk changes constantly to meet babies' needs.
Breast milk composition and volume changes according to the time of day, nursing frequency, and age of baby to promote healthy growth. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby.
Breast milk is always ready and good for the environment.
- It is available wherever and whenever your baby needs it.
- It is always at the right temperature, clean and free.
- No bottles to clean.
- Breastfeeding has no waste, so it is good for the environment.
Why is Breastfeeding Important for You?
Mothers who breastfeed:
- Have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer
- May find it easier to return to what they weighed before they got pregnant
- Strengthen the bond with their children
Making it Work – You Can Do It!
Some helpful hints:
- Breastfeed soon after birth and breastfeed frequently 8 to 12 times in a 24 hour period.
- Hold your baby skin-to-skin.
- Keep your baby with you in the hospital.
- Do not give a pacifier or bottle until breastfeeding is well established.
- Give only breast milk.
- It’s your baby...It’s your decision.
- Make your decision based on facts and your feelings, not on what family or friends may have told you. If you have concerns about breastfeeding, the easiest way to overcome them is to try breastfeeding, or talk to your WIC breastfeeding peer counselor.
- The longer you breastfeed, the greater its benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months. Then, continue to breastfeed for the first 12 months or longer as you add new, healthy foods to your baby’s diet. Many mothers enjoy nursing their toddler. You and your baby will know when it is time to wean. No one else can make that decision. Meanwhile, your baby continues to get the many benefits of breast milk.
- Some woman find it helpful to use lactation supplements to help keep their breast milk supply up, including breast milk cookies and teas. There are a lot of breastfeeding supplements on the market, so it is important to look at the ingredients and customer reviews to know what you are getting.
- Practice expressing milk using a breast pump. Test some out to find the best breast milk pump for you. A pump that fits your body size and lifestyle will be the best breastfeeding pump regardless of what other use.