Benefits to Breastfeeding

As I’m sure you have heard over and over again since the moment you saw the double pink line on your pee stick stating that you were pregnant, people began asking, “Well your going to breastfeed right??? RIGHT???? ” There is a lot of pressure now a days to breastfeed, and you may feel that if you don’t breastfeed you are classified into a group of “THOSE FEEDERS”. Yet you may be saying in the back of your head wondering, “I think so…I mean I’ll try it…but what about all the horror stories I hear? What about the women who say they had infections and sore nipples and that it was the hardest thing they ever did, is it really worth all that?” “What if I don’t really want to, will I be looked down upon?”

These are questions that only you can answer, but I would like to ease a little bit of that anxiety if I can. Breastfeeding is not for everyone, and we (and when I say we I mean the Lactation Consultant Breastfeeding specialists community) completely understand that! For some women the thought of it really is uncomfortable, and for those mommies it may be that they decide to pump and bottle feed only. (which I give a lot of credit to, for that takes strong determination!) For others you may want to try and see where it goes. Whatever direction you choose to go, what is important is that you make the choice that is going to also make you the best mommy. Remember that every day of breastfeeding is a gift to that baby, whether that be one day or 2 years. It will provide them with ultimate nutrients and a wonderful start to life.

Overwhelming scientific evidence has proved that breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. It is the perfect food for their gut. It reaps great health benefits for not only the baby but the mother, her family, the health care system and our society as well. So lets look at the facts:
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Here is why:
Benefits for Baby:

  • Breast milk is perfect nutrition which continually changes to meet growth and developmental needs
  • Breast milk is easy to digest resulting in less colic and digestive problems
  • Antibodies in breast milk keep babies healthier resulting in fewer ear, respiratory, and urinary tract infections
  • Breastfed infants have a decreased incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Breastfed Children are less likely to suffer from diabetes, asthma, allergies, obesity and childhood cancers
  • Breastfed children score higher on cognitive and IQ tests

Benefits For MOM:

  • Helps mom recover and return to pre-pregnant weight more quickly burning twice the amount of calories
  • Lowers mom’s risk for postpartum depression
  • Decreases her risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Decreases her risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Breast milk is always ready to use, easy to transport and access
  • No formula to buy or bottles to prepare and clean
  • Economical: Formula feeding costs $ 3000 a year Breastfeeding costs FREE

Benefits to Society:

  • Breastfeeding saves on long-term health care costs
  • Breastfed infants require fewer doctor visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations
  • Breastfeeding mothers have fewer work absences and higher work productivity
  • Breastfeeding is kinder to the environment using no electrical energy in preparation and producing far less trash, waste and pollution that formula feeding

Ultimately Breastfeeding is a mothers choice. You have to do what is best for you and your baby, but also what is going to make you a better mother in the long run. If this is your first time breastfeeding, be sure to surround yourself with women who support you. If you attempted to breastfeed and felt it didn’t work for you, that is okay. You did the best you could with the knowledge and support you had at the time. Each day your child gets breast milk will be a gift. But if it isn’t for you, know that you are still making a positive impact on your child by providing them with the next best thing.

Copyright© 2011 Danielle Gauss – All Rights Reserved.

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2 Responses to Benefits to Breastfeeding

  1. Lindsay says:

    While I agree that breastfeeding has a financial advantage over formula feeding, for many women breastfeeding isn’t exactly free. I personally purchased a breast pump (for pumping at work), bottles (to be given while I was at work), lanolin, nursing bras, disposable nursing pads (I was too leaky for the reusable ones), spare pump parts, and freezer bags for extra milk. I realize not all nursing mothers would need everything I listed, but I would imagine a decent number of moms purchase at least some of these things.

    • Admin says:

      Hi Lindsay, you are correct breastfeeding isn’t going to always be free, but it is certainly cheaper then formula. I think the latest statistic stated that formula for 1 year costs close to $5000. That is a trip to Hawaii! There are alternatives to some of the items listed. Thankfully, most insurance companies are required by law, due to the affordable care act, to supply a FREE electric breast pump valued at close to $375. If you purchased your pump and were not aware of the free one available to you, you should be able to submit the receipt to your insurance for reimbursment. Breastmilk does decrease the chances of your infant getting sick, which will decrease doctor’s visits, and less time off from work for you due to having to miss to care for a sick child. Also all breastfeeding supplies including: lanolin, nursing pads, pump parts, your pump, freezer bags, etc… are tax deductible, so if you think about it, those items pay for themselves. Breastfeeding may not be free, but it is significantly cheaper then formula, and the long term advantages to both your health and the baby’s health are priceless.

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