Breastfeeding has many benefits for mom and baby.
Benefits for Mom:
• Breastfeeding decreases the chance of certain cancers like ovarian and breast
• Breastfeeding increases oxytocin:
– When mothers breastfeed, oxytocin levels increase and breast milk “lets down.”
– Oxytocin helps with involution time, or the time it takes the uterus to contract back down to pre-pregnancy size. The shorter amount of time it takes, the less bleeding there will be.
– Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for love and bonding!
• Breastfeeding helps mom lose weight faster.
• Breastfeeding decreases chance of diabetes.
• It is convenient (no mixing or warming required, no cleaning/sterilizing bottles).
• If using WIC, mom will get more food.
Benefits for Baby:
• Breastmilk is easier to digest than formula.
• Breastfed babies are at a decrease risk for certain illness:
– Ear infections
– Allergies and asthma
– Childhood leukemia
– Childhood obesity
• Decrease chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
• Passive immunity from mom (mother’s antibodies are passed to baby, so they are protected from illness until their immune system is strong enough to make their own antibodies).
Even if mom does not want to put the baby directly to breast, she can still give her infant breast milk by pumping and offering a bottle. Any amount of breast milk for any duration of time is going to be beneficial to baby.