Both breastmilk and formula can provide adequate nutrition for a healthy, growing baby. Not every new mom is able or willing to breastfeed – and that’s okay! However, it is helpful to understand the reasons why breastfeeding can be an excellent choice for both baby and mom.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Babies
Not only does breastmilk itself provide numerous benefits for a newborn, the act of breastfeeding is highly convenient, cost-saving and allows for the most natural bonding between baby and mother.
Here are some highlighted benefits of breastmilk for your baby:
- Easy on a brand-new tummy. Breast milk is the most easily digestible food available for a baby.
- Helps fight sickness. While moms can pass along caffeine or gas-causing foods in their breastmilk, they can also pass vital antibodies to their baby to help them fight illness.
- All-inclusive meals. There’s evidence that suggests that your baby can thrive solely on the nutrients found in breastmilk for the first six months.
- Prevents overfeeding. Breastfeeding typically provides your baby with the right amount of calories and volume of milk, without you having to worry about them getting too much.
- Lowers the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Optimal brain development. Research reports that the areas of the brain that are responsible language, emotional function and cognitive learning are specifically benefited from breastfeeding.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Moms
Moms can benefit from breastfeeding too! Not only is it the easiest form of feeding your baby, breastfeeding also triggers favorable changes in your post-partum body. First, it can help shrink the uterus back to its original shape and size. Next, breastfeeding burns calories, a welcomed benefit for moms trying to lose pregnancy weight. Finally, breastfeeding causes the release of prolactin, which keeps estrogen and progesterone levels low. This often means no menstrual cycle for breastfeeding moms for 6 to 8 months on average.
At North Pointe OB/GYN, we support all new moms, whether they choose to breastfeed or not. The important thing is that you are providing good nutrition to your growing baby, while also caring for yourself. To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, please contact one of our physicians.