10 things to know about breast milk
You’ve probably heard that breastfeeding is the best nutrition for babies, but did you know it’s good for Mom, too?
The decision to breastfeed is a personal one. Here are 10 things to consider:
- Breast milk arms your baby against infection. Breastmilk has antibodies that can help prevent and fight infection.
- Breast milk provides nutrients and other compounds your baby needs to grow and develop. These include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
- Breast milk contains many other biologically active components. “Human milk is not just a composite of individual components,” says Dr. Dan Raiten, an expert on childhood nutrition for the National Institutes of Health. “It’s an active biological system.” As a breastfeeding parent, you and your baby interact and affect one another, even down to your circadian rhythms.
- Breast milk changes over time. As your infant grows, your breast milk will change to meet their nutritional needs.
- Breastfeeding lowers your infant’s risk of developing asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, ear infections, gut infections that cause diarrhea or vomiting, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Breastfeeding helps with bonding. Skin to skin holding along with active talking, and eye contact during feeds helps you and your baby get to know each other.
- Breastfeeding benefits mom. It promotes weight loss after birth, stimulates the uterus to return to normal size, and results in less postpartum bleeding, fewer urinary tract infections and less chance of anemia. Mothers who breastfeed their infants have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding helps you emotionally. Breastfeeding produces naturally soothing hormones that help reduce stress, promote positive feelings and reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
- Breastfeeding is good for the environment. It’s completely mom-powered. It requires no manufacturing, packaging or transport and results in no waste products.
- Breastfeeding is good for your family’s well-being. Breastfed babies cry less overall and have fewer childhood illnesses. Breastfeeding can also make traveling easier as it is instantly available and doesn’t require measuring or warming.
Lactation specialists can help you and your baby with your breastfeeding journey. Please reach out to a lactation consultant and your health care provider if you experience difficulty breastfeeding.
- Asante Ashland Community Hospital Family Birth Center, (541) 201-4210
- Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center Family Birth Center, (541) 789-4218
- Asante Three Rivers Medical Center Family Birth Center, (541) 472-7223
References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cleveland Clinic, National Institutes of Health.