The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life for optimal growth and development cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally. The Academy also recommends to continue breastfeeding until at least one year and beyond as mutually desired by mother and child. Research has proven that there are continued benefits for the duration of breastfeeding with positive effects throughout the life cycle. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial acts a mother can do for her child. The most dramatic health benefits have been proven to pass from mother to child through breastmilk. What follows are just a few reasons we think breastfeeding is the right choice for you.
Benefits to the Mother:
- A reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes
- Releases hormones that help the mother adjust to postpartum stress and a reduced risk of postparum depression
- Helps encourage natural weight loss
- Strengthens the bond between mother and child
- Ecological and financial benefits
- Breastfeeding saves money!
Benefits to Baby:
- Human breastmilk is the No. 1 choice of the World Health Organization (WHO) for infant nutrition
- Breastfeeding promotes good health and strengthens the immune system
- Helps achieve maximum function of all body systems (circulatory, musculo skeletal, digestive, respiratory)
- Breastfed babies have a reduction in the risk of ear infections, non specific gastroenteritis severe lower respiratory infections, aptopic dermatitis asthma, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and necrotizing enterocolitis.
- Provides ideal nutrition for optimal brain development
- Babies have fewer food allergies when exclusively breastfed for six months
- Eliminates potential hazards of infant formula
- Builds closeness, comfort and security between mother and child
Tips for Working Moms
Patty Landry, manager of Lactation Services for Children's Health System, offers these tips:
- Learn about breastfeeding before your baby is born.
- Tell your employer about the benefits. A healthier baby means you miss less work.
- Talk to your supervisor about options (e.g. transition on a part-time basis, flexible scheduling, job sharing, etc.)
- Plan to return to work midweek if possible.
- If possible, use on-site childcare so you can visit and nurse during your lunch break. Prepare in advance to return to work.
- Contact Children's Lactation Services to learn when to begin using a pump, when to introduce a bottle and how to store your milk - your regimen will be tailored to fit your individual needs.
A lactation consultant will assist with your transition back to work. Call Children's Lactation Services at 205-939-6600 to talk to a lactation expert or to rent or purchase supplies.
There's nothing like breastfeeding to put babies on the path to good health. Breastfeeding is the most precious gift a mother can give to her infant, according to some experts. Breast milk offers many benefits:
- Breastfed children are 20 percent less likely to become overweight adolescents than formula-fed infants, Massachusetts researchers recently wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Breastfeeding seems to make kids smarter. A New Zealand study showed that children breastfed for at least six months had better IQs, reading and math skills than formula-fed children.
- Breast milk offers building blocks of brain and nerve tissue that are not present in formula. Formula also can't offer the same protective agents. Breast milk's ingredients can help heed off a wide range of problems. Among them: diarrhea, upper respiratory and ear infections, asthma, leukemia, obesity, diabetes and allergies.
- Breastfeeding can prevent postpartum hemorrhaging and anemia. Women who nurse are less likely to get certain female cancers. Breastfeeding helps you lose the pounds you put on during pregnancy - it increases the hormones that help cut stress.