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Benefits of Breastfeeding

Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are many benefits for both mom and baby if you decide to breastfeed. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby, as it contains the best combination of ingredients for a strong immune system and overall growth and development.

Benefits for Baby

Breast milk provides all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months of life. No additional food or water is recommended, so it makes feeding your baby easy. Your breast milk contains the perfect blend of nutrients, fat, and protein for your baby to grow at just the right rate. As time passes and your baby grows, your milk changes to meet the new nutritional requirements. For example, your first milk is high in fat with less water but at three months of age, your milk has less fat and more water.

Breastfed babies also have fewer illnesses. The rates of ear infections, respiratory problems, asthma, and allergies are lower in breastfed babies. There is a strong connection between breastfeeding and a healthy immune system. You will pass your antibodies to your baby through your breast milk, giving your baby a head start in fighting off infections. Breast milk also makes a protective coating inside your baby’s stomach to keep germs from taking hold.

Research shows that breastfed babies have lower risks of:

  • Asthma
  • Leukemia (during childhood)
  • Obesity (during childhood)
  • Ear infections
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Type 2 diabetes

Benefits for Mom

Breastfeeding your baby has health benefits for you, too. Mothers that breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner and have lower rates of breast and uterine cancer. Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to normal and decreases blood loss after your baby is born. You may also experience a break from your period for as long as 12 months. Breastfeeding leads to a lower risk of these health problems in mothers:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain types of breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

Many medical organizations strongly recommend breastfeeding, including The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Grant Regional is proud to have three certified lactation counselors trained to assist new moms and provide caring, nurturing support to set them up for success. What exactly is a certified lactation counselor? A certified lactation counselor is a clinical expert who is trained and certified to counsel new mothers on initiation, exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding, and to assist if they experience any difficulties or high-risk situations. Our goal is to support moms so they can continue to breastfeed longer, and to overcome any issues they have with breastfeeding. Sessions can include suggestions for treatment or correction of breastfeeding issues and discussion of any challenges that they are facing. New moms often feel frustrated and alone during the first weeks after going home and it’s so important to have support and guidance during this time. Our lactation counselors are all moms too and have a strong commitment to helping new moms be more confident and enjoy this precious time with their newborn.

If you are considering breastfeeding and would like more information or you are currently breastfeeding and would like some guidance or support, please contact our certified lactation counselors at Grant Regional Health Center: Nicole Bahl (608) 732-4530; Annette Koeller (608) 732-4957; or Nichole Seippel (608) 723-5324.