Lady breastfeeding her newborn.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Brenda Barlowe, CNM, MSN

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your new baby. It’s also one of the best ways to bond with baby and has numerous benefits for the health of both mom and child. However, breastfeeding can also be a confusing and frustrating time. Often times, new moms worry baby isn’t getting enough nutrition, wonder why their baby is rejecting their breasts, and can, in general, find the whole process difficult. The truth is that, even though breasts produce milk naturally, new moms and babies still have to learn to breastfeed together. Confidence is gained with practice, and breastfeeding can often require taking extra steps to get it right.

If you’re struggling to breastfeed correctly or want to learn more about the process in general, keep reading below.

How to Learn More About Breastfeeding

There are many resources available for support and additional information about breastfeeding.  Some examples include the internet, lactation specialists, nurses, midwives, physicians, community lactation groups, and professional organizations like La Leche League.  However, it’s important to note that every mom and baby pair is unique. What you learn best from might be different than other women in your life, so take the time to explore all your options.

Seek help, be calm, and don’t give up if you want to breastfeed your baby!

Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding. For starters, breastmilk is the perfect food and is easily digested.

Other benefits include:

  • reduces risks of viruses and infections of respiratory/ GI tract, asthma, and ears
  • protects against allergies and eczema
  • lessens SIDS risk
  • contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes
  • protects against diseases with mom’s immune factors and white blood cells
  • new studies show that breastmilk may decrease adult obesity and increase IQ scores

There are benefits for mom also:

  • lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • helps mom to lose pregnancy weight faster by burning 300-500 calories per day
  • may reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • saves money (formula cost approximately $134-491/month)
  • promotes closeness to infant
  • cultivates friendships with other breastfeeding moms.

How is Breast Milk Produced?

4-5 ounces of breastmilk is the nutritional equivalent of 8 ounces of formula. The body’s production of breastmilk is linked to the needs of the infant. It increases during growth spurts and as baby nurses more frequently. If production is an issue, as in premature birth, then there are herbs to help increase the milk supply as well as pumping. Herbs that are helpful are alfalfa, milk thistle, and mothers milk, to name a few.

This article is meant to encourage breastfeeding if only for a week, month, or year.  Any amount is beneficial for baby and challenges can be overcome if they arrive. If you need assistance with breastfeeding or would like to learn more, click here to contact the experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists.