The Benefits of breast feeding your baby are numerous. As a parent you will make many decisions for your child. One important decision is whether to feed your infant breast milk, formula, or both. Many organizations (American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, World Health Organization, American Dietetic Association) recommend breast milk as the best infant nutrition for the first year of life. After reviewing your options, hopefully you’ll consider the benefits of breast feeding your baby.
However, many parents make the decision to give formula or a combination of breast milk and formula to their infant. Before making this choice, it’s important to review the benefits of both, the potential health risks associated with one or the other, and thoroughly discuss the options with your healthcare provider, your infant’s healthcare provider, and your parenting partner.
Benefits of Breast Feeding –Why Breastfeeding is Best:
Breastfeeding provides many benefits for baby, for mom, and for your family. Breast milk is nature’s nutrition for your child, providing the best balance of proteins, sugar, fat, vitamins & minerals, and water. It’s easily digested and contains “living” components. These living components include antibodies to support your baby’s immune system which helps your infant fight off illness. Every time you breast feed your infant you are essentially immunizing your infant against disease and illness. Because of this, breastfed infants have a lower risk for ear infections, crib death, asthma, allergies, diarrhea illness, respiratory illness, obesity, leukemia, and diabetes. Breastfed infants are sick less often compared to formula fed infants.
Quick Breastfeeding Benefits
- Immunizes your baby against disease
- Raises baby’s IQ Level
- Lowers Mom’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer
- Helps Mom get back to pre-pregnancy weight
- Suppresses ovulation and menstrual cycle
- Saves you $$$ on formula and doctor visits
A mother who breast feeds her infant has a lower risk for breast and ovarian cancers and may be able to get back to pre-pregnancy weight easier compared to formula feeding moms. When a mother breast feeds, her uterus contracts, thus getting back to pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding suppresses ovulation, you won’t menstruate and may not get pregnant while breastfeeding regularly.
Breast feeding costs less than formula in many ways. Breast milk doesn’t cost a cent to provide to your infant when you directly breast feed (baby at breast). You may choose to purchase an electric breast pump to allow dad to bottle feed at times or for use when mom goes back into the workforce. The cost of formula for the first year of life (around $1500 – 2000) greatly exceeds the cost of even a daily use type pump. Plus, you’ll have less doctor visits, prescription costs, and less time off work due to a sick infant.
Additional Breastfeeding Information
Making an informed decision as a parent is so important. Even if you eventually decide that formula is your choice, consider offering your newborn expressed colostrum (the breast milk that has a huge amount of antibodies) in the first 2-3 days of life. Just doing that will offer your infant a tremendous boost to the immune system and you can get some of the benefits of breast feeding just the first 2 days.
For personalized lactation assistance, schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant today.
- Breast Feeding Moms Get as Much (Or Little) Sleep (healthland.time.com)
- Breastfeeding – All Information (umm.edu)
- FLSA Requirements: Breaks for Breast-feeding Mothers (brighthub.com)