Pregnancy Articles

Breastfeeding: The Best Choice

Good For You and Baby

No doubt about it, under normal circumstances, breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby. Breast milk is the perfect food and provides the most efficient and effective delivery system. Plus there are many benefits for mom too! You may already know that you are going to breastfeed, or maybe you are still undecided…check out these breastfeeding benefits.

Benefits for Baby

  • Breast milk is custom made, the perfect nutrition, and therefore the best food for your baby. Because of its chemical makeup, your baby can easily digest and absorb the nutrients.
  • The antibodies found in breast milk help to fight many infections, including: respiratory, urinary tract, ear, and blood infections. It also improves your child's immune system.
  • Breast milk helps to prevent food allergies and sensitivities.
  • Breastfed babies are almost never constipated. They rarely have diarrhea or gas.
  • Because nursing requires more effort than sucking on a bottle, breastfeeding encourages better, jaw, tooth and palate development. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to get cavities later in childhood.
  • Breast milk helps to prevent jaundice.
  • There is a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), meningitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, leukemia, lymphoma, obesity, and juvenile diabetes in breastfed babies.
  • Breastfeeding appears to increase a child's IQ.
Benefits for Mom
  • Breastfeeding helps to return your uterus to its normal size and it uses up fat stores.
  • Breastfeeding burns calories and helps mom to lose weight and get back into shape.
  • Breastfeeding is convenient. There is no mixing, measuring, and cleaning. There is no advanced planning or packing.
  • Breastfeeding is economical since there are no bottles, nipples, or formula to buy. And half-emptied bottles or opened cans of formula are never wasted.
  • There is less odor in baby's spit up and bowel movements.
  • When mom breastfeeds, she experiences a decreased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis.
  • Breastfeeding protects iron stores because it suppresses ovulation and menstruation. But it should NEVER be relied on for birth control.
When it comes to breastfeeding, preparation is the key. Talk with family and friends who have successfully breastfed. Check out breastfeeding books at your local library. And definitely sign up to take a breastfeeding class at a local hospital, taught by a certified lactation consultant. During this class you will learn the breastfeeding basics…the tips and techniques…the do's and don'ts. With hands-on instruction you will be exposed to different holding techniques, basic nipple and breast care, how to store breast milk, ways to determine if your infant is getting enough milk, and how and when to use a breast pump. You'll learn what to do if problems should arise, and know when it is necessary to call your doctor or the pediatrician.

So if you are among the growing number of women who have decided to breastfeed…CONGRATULATIONS! And it you are still undecided, here is one suggestion: try it---you may like it. Because best of all, you and your baby will have reaped many, many benefits…if only for 2 weeks or for 2 years.
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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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