BREASTFEEDING PROTECTS BABIES
YOUR FIRST MILK IS LIQUID GOLD. Called liquid gold for its deep yellow color, colostrum is the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Colostrum also helps your newborn infant’s digestive system to grow and function. Your baby gets only a small amount of colostrum at each feeding because the stomach of a newborn infant is tiny and can hold only a small amount.
YOUR MILK CHANGES AS YOUR BABY GROWS. Colostrum changes into mature milk by the third to fifth day after birth. This mature milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It looks thinner than colostrum, but it has the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs for healthy growth.
FORMULA IS HARDER TO DIGEST. For most babies, especially premature babies, breastmilk substitutes like formula are harder to digest than breastmilk. Formula is made from cow’s milk, and it often takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting it.
BREASTMILK FIGHTS DISEASE. The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breastmilk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and changes to meet your baby’s needs. Research suggests that breastfed babies have lower risks of 1: • Asthma • Childhood leukemia • Childhood obesity • Ear infections • Eczema (atopic dermatitis) • Diarrhea and vomiting • Lower respiratory infections • Necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) • Type 2 diabetes
WHY BREASTFEEDING IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Did you know that your baby can smell you and knows the unique scent of your breastmilk? This is why your baby will turn her head to you when she is hungry. Your baby is born with an instinct to suckle at your breasts.
LIFE CAN BE EASIER WHEN YOU BREASTFEED. Breastfeeding may seem like it takes a little more effort than formula feeding at first. But breastfeeding can make your life easier once you and your baby settle into a good routine. When you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. You do not have to buy, measure, and mix formula. You won’t need to warm bottles in the middle of the night! When you breastfeed, you can satisfy your baby’s hunger right away.
NOT BREASTFEEDING COSTS MONEY. Formula and feeding supplies can cost more than $1,500 each year. Breastfed babies may also be sick less often, which can help keep your baby’s health costs lower.
BREASTFEEDING KEEPS MOTHER AND BABY CLOSE. Physical contact is important to newborns. It helps them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers also benefit from this closeness. The skin-to-skin contact boosts your oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps breastmilk flow and can calm the mother.
BREASTFEEDING IS GOOD FOR THE MOTHER’S HEALTH, TOO. Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer in mothers.
BREASTFEEDING IS GOOD FOR SOCIETY
Society benefits overall when mothers breastfeed. BREASTFEEDING SAVES LIVES. Recent research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. BREASTFEEDING SAVES MONEY. The United States would also save $2.2 billion per year. This is because medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants. Breastfed infants usually need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations. BREASTFEEDING IS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. Formula cans and bottle supplies create more trash and plastic waste. Your milk is a renewable resource that comes packaged and warmed.