Breastfeeding

MAKING THE CHOICE TO BREASTFEED YOUR BABY

Learning about breastfeeding while you are pregnant can help you to be more successful at breastfeeding when your baby is born. There are many advantages to both you and your baby and you can learn more about them by taking a breastfeeding class. Hospitals designated as “Baby-Friendly” will help you get your breastfeeding off to a good start. Consider continuing breastfeeding after returning to work or school to maintain those benefits. The longer you breastfeed, the more you and your baby will benefit.

HERE ARE A FEW BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING TO CONSIDER.

OVERALL, A HEALTHIER BABY

Research shows breastfed babies are healthier and better able to fight disease and sickness. Breast milk provides nutrients, vitamins, growth factors, antibodies, hormones and other benefits that are not available in formula.

HEALTHY MOMS

Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of osteoporosis later in life because breastfeeding allows your body to better absorb the calcium you need to keep your bones strong. Breastfeeding moms also have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers, heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

SPEED UP HEALING AFTER YOU GIVE BIRTH

Oxytocin is a chemical that is released when your baby nurses, which helps your uterus get smaller and reduces blood loss after giving birth. Continuing to breastfeed will help your uterus shrink to its normal size in about six weeks, compared with 10 weeks without breastfeeding.

INCREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF VACCINES

Breastfed babies have a better antibody response to vaccines, which means they have less of a risk of feeling the side effects when it comes time to vaccinate.

A VACATION FROM MENSTRUATION

Exclusively breastfeeding your baby may delay ovulation, effectively delaying your period while you continue to exclusively breastfeed. However, you can still get pregnant during this time, so remember to use protection or birth control as appropriate.

SPEND LESS TIME RUNNING OUT FOR FORMULA

Use your precious time learning about and bonding with your baby. Learn to understand when he is full instead of rushing to the store to get formula. Breast milk is always available (even in emergencies), with no worries about properly mixing formula, ensuring it is at the right temperature, washing bottles or checking for expiration or recalls. Breastfeeding also helps you bond with your baby by experiencing skin to skin contact and spending valuable time with them.

BETTER FOR THE COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENT

Breastfed babies are sick less often, which lowers health care costs and reduces the number of sick days for parents. Breast milk is good for the environment as its production does not harm the environment, requires no packaging and fewer cans and bottles end up in the landfill.