Breastfeeding is Important
Breastfeeding Protects Babies
- Colostrum, known as liquid gold, is the first breast milk you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies that help protect babies.
- Breast milk changes as your baby grows.
- Breast milk is easier to digest. For most babies, especially premature babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are usually made from cow's milk and it takes time for babies' stomachs to adjust to digesting them.
- Breast milk fights disease. The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and the formula cannot match the chemical makeup of breast milk. Breastfed babies, in general, have a lower risk of ear infections, lower respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
Breastfeeding Protects Moms
- Life can be easier when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may take a little more effort than formula feeding at first. But it can make life easier once you and your baby settle into a good routine.
- Breastfeeding can save money. Formula and feeding supplies can cost more than $1,500 each year. Breastfed babies are also sick less often, which can lower health care costs.
- Breastfeeding can feel great. Physical contact is important to newborns. It can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers can benefit from this closeness as well. Skin to skin contact can boost the mother's oxytocin levels, which is a hormone that helps milk flow and can calm the mother.
- Breastfeeding can be good for the mother's health. Breastfeeding is linked to a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression for mothers.
- Mothers miss less work. Breastfeeding mothers miss fewer days from work because their babies are sick less often.
Breastfeeding Benefits Society
- Research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented.
- The United States would save $13 billion per year due to the lowered medical costs of breastfed babies.
- Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce since mothers miss less work to care for sick infants.
- Breastfeeding is positive for the environment. There is less trash and plastic wasted compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.
Breastfeeding Protects Babies During an Emergency
When an emergency occurs, breastfeeding can save lives.
- Breastfeeding protects babies from the risks of a contaminated water supply.
- Breastfeeding can help protect against respiratory illnesses and diarrhea. These diseases can be fatal in populations displaced by a disaster.
- Breast milk is the right temperature for babies and helps prevent hypothermia.
- Breast milk is readily available without needing other supplies.