Most birthing centers and doulas do a great job discussing the benefits of breastfeeding and persuading new mamas and mothers to be to choose and stick with breastfeeding. Hospitals are reaching more toward breastfeeding encouragement as well, but still rely heavily on giving out free samples of formula and telling mothers to supplement their babies with it when complications (unexpected C Section or premature births) occur. Below are good to know points on breastfeeding and perhaps little tidbits of information that was not talked about during Baby Delivery 101.
Benefits for the Baby:
- Breast milk if perfect nutrition, because it continually changes to meet the growth and development needs of the baby.
- Boots immunity
- Increases physical contact with mother and increases security
- Contains high levels of nutrients.
- Easy to digest, which results in less coli and digestive problems.
- Tons of LIVE antibodies that keep babies healthier.
- Breastfed babies have a decreased incidence of SIDS.
- Are less likely to suffer from diabetes, asthma, allergies, obesity and childhood cancers.
- Breastfeed children also score higher on cognitive and IQ tests.
Benefits for Mothers:
- Helps the mother recover and return to pre-pregnant weight quickly.
- Raises Oxytocin levels (happy hormone)
- Deeper connection with baby
- Lowers risk for post-partum depression.
- Uterus returns to normal size more quickly and mother has reduced blood loss.
- Psychological benefits of increased self-confidence and enhanced bonding with infant.
- Decreases her risk for type 2 diabetes and for breast and ovarian cancers.
- Breast milk is always ready to use, and is easy to transport and access.
- No formula to buy or bottles to prepare or clean.
- Economical (Breastfeeding costs about $300 a year, while formula feeding costs about $2000-$3000 a year)
Benefits for Society:
- Saves on long term healthcare costs.
- Infants require fewer doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
- Mothers who breastfeed have fewer work absences and higher work productivity.
- Breastfeeding is kinder to the environment because there is no use of electrical energy, it produces less trash, waste and pollution than formula.
Risks of Not Breastfeeding:
- Risk of SIDS.
- Increased ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.
- Increased hospitalizations.
- Risk for childhood and adult obesity.