You have many decisions to make as you plan for your new arrival. One of the most important decisions is how you will feed your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk as the best food for your baby for the first year. At around six months you may begin introducing other foods, but breast milk should still be the first course.
Check out our top five breastfeeding benefits for you, your baby and your family.
1. Breastfeeding has preventative power. Research has shown that breastfeeding can help prevent allergies, asthma, diabetes, ear infections, childhood obesity, leukemia and even sudden infant death syndrome. Your first milk, colostrum, provides your baby with all your immunities to diseases.
2. It creates a special bond. Breastfeeding allows you to have a special bond with your baby. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can improve your child’s neurodevelopment. The hormones released during breastfeeding have been found to decrease maternal stress and increase bonding.
3. Breast milk is easy on your baby’s tummy. Breast milk is easier to digest than formula, meaning your baby will have fewer stomach aches and develop fewer food allergies. Breast milk also changes to meet your growing baby’s needs
4. Breastfeeding is good for you, too. Breastfeeding can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, postpartum depression and some forms of breast and ovarian cancer. The longer you breast feed, the greater your protection. Plus, you burn an extra 500 calories per day breastfeeding!
5. Breastfeeding saves you money. Formula, bottles and supplies can cost about $3,000 annually, but breast milk is free. There’s no prep time for breast milk, and it’s always the right temperature.
The Birthing Center at UK HealthCare wants your breastfeeding experience to get off to the right start. Our nursing staff and physicians have received special training to help you begin breastfeeding. We also have lactation consultants who will see you during your hospitalization and the Mommy and Me Clinic, located at the Kentucky Clinic, for assistance after you are discharged.
For more information, visit our breastfeeding support services website or contact your physician or the Childbirth Education Coordinator at 859-323-2750.