Breastfeeding Benefits For Child & Mother

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), and it’s an opportunity for health-related groups across the world to focus their efforts on the benefits of breastfeeding. Launched in 1991 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), WBW aims to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”

Here in Sanford, Central Carolina Hospital provides support to breastfeeding moms in our area, including those at the workplace and stay-at-home moms, from first-time moms to moms with plenty of experience, single moms and married moms as well. The goal is for every mom to have the support she needs to give her baby a healthy start to life. A big part of that support is understanding the benefits of breastfeeding, both for the mom and the baby.

Benefits for babies

There are many benefits babies will reap from breast milk. Nutrients, hormones and antibodies provided by the mother help keep the baby healthy and strong. Breast milk tends to be easier for babies to digest and the experience provides a sense of comfort and security for the child. Breastfed babies also tend to have lower risk of allergies, ear infections, diarrhea, asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and lower respiratory infections.

Benefits for moms

Breastfeeding can be equally beneficial for mothers, well beyond the bonding and security factors. Breastfeeding can be economical. Estimates indicate that formula and feeding supplies can cost more than $1,500 per year and often require preparation time. Studies have shown that the physical contact between mother and baby increases oxytocin levels, a hormone that helps milk flow and can create a calming effect for the mother. Breastfeeding lowers the mother’s risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer and postpartum depression. It also requires calorie expenditure, which can help new moms shed any extra weight gained during pregnancy.

Issues & Solutions

Breastfeeding can be intimidating, especially for first-time moms. How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk? What if I’m feeding her too much? Are the foods I’m eating upsetting my baby’s stomach? How can I breastfeed when I return to work? All of these questions, and so many more, often dissuade new moms from breastfeeding, but they shouldn’t. Central Carolina Hospital offers a number of services to calm new mothers’ fears and provide support for breastfeeding moms, such as weekly classes, support groups and a certified lactation consultant on staff. You can learn more by visiting the Women’s Center at the Central Carolina Hospital website, or by calling 919.774.2100.

Background information for this article, courtesy of Central Carolina Hospital.