Should I breastfeed?

Whether or not to breastfeed is an important decision every new mother faces.

A wide range of studies and research point overwhelming to the many benefits associated with breastfeeding, but only you can decide if it is right for you and your baby.

What are the benefits?

Breast milk provides the ideal combination of vitamins and nutrients babies need for a healthy start in life. Breast milk also contains antibodies that help ward off viruses and infections and help lower your newborn’s risk for developing asthma and allergies.

Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhea. Breast milk is easier for babies to digest and does not cause constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach.

In addition, breast fed babies also require fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.

Are there any health benefits for me?

Yes, moms benefit from breastfeeding too.

  • Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and may lower the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Breastfeeding burns extra calories, which can help new moms to lose pregnancy weight faster.
  • Breastfeeding can help mothers bond with babies through skin-to-skin contact which has been shown to help babies feel secure.

What are some helpful hints?

Keep your baby with you in the hospital and begin breastfeeding soon after birth. Hold babies skin-to-skin and breastfeed frequently — eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period.

Avoid giving your newborn a pacifier or bottle until breastfeeding is well established and give only breast milk.

 


Sources: www.webmd.com, womenshealth.gov and www.healthychildren.org