Everything about Breastfeeding: Good Start a Lifetime

Making the decision to breastfeeding: When you breastfeed you give your baby a good start that lasts a lifetime. Breast milk is the ideal food for your baby. Breastfeeding saves lives, money and time.


What are the health benefits breastfeeding not give my baby?

The cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk helps protect babies from disease. This protection is unique and changes daily to meet the growing needs of your baby.

Research shows that babies fed in have a lower risk of 1.2

  • Asthma
  • Leukemia (childhood)
  • Obesity (childhood)
  • Ear Infections
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Necrotizing (NEK-ROH-Teye-zing) enterocolitis (in-TUR-oh-coh-LYT-iss), a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in premature babies, or babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy
  • The sudden death infant syndrome (SIDS)
  • Type 2 diabetes

What and how colostrum works it does help my baby?

Your help your baby grow healthy and strong milk a day.

Your first milk is liquid gold. Called liquid gold for its dark yellow colostrum (COH-LOSS trum) is the first thick milk you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby against infections.

Also helps the digestive system colostrum to grow and function of your newborn. Your baby receives only a small amount of colostrum at each meal because the stomach of a newborn child is tiny and can only contain a small amount. (Read How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk? To see how little belly newborn is!)

Your milk changes as your baby grow. 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 seems thinner than colostrum, but it has the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs for healthy growth.

What are the health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers?

Breastfeeding helps a mother’s health and healing following childbirth. Breastfeeding leads to a lower risk of these health problems in mothers:3,4

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Certain types of breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

How does breastfeeding compare to formula feeding?

  • Formula can be harder for your baby to digest. For most babies, especially premature babies (babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), 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.
  • Your breastmilk changes to meet your baby’s needs. As your baby gets older, your breastmilk adjusts to meet your baby’s changing needs. Researchers think that a baby’s saliva transfers chemicals to a mother’s body through breastfeeding. These chemicals help a mother’s body create breastmilk that meets the baby’s changing needs.
  • Life can be easier for you 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. And there are no bottles to warm 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 well over $1,500 each year. As your baby gets older he or she will eat more formula. But breastmilk changes with the baby’s needs, and babies usually need the same amount of breastmilk as they get older. 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 (OKS-ee-TOH-suhn) levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps breastmilk flow and can calm the mother.

Sometimes, formula feeding can save lives:

  • Very rarely, babies are born unable to tolerate milk of any kind. These babies must have an infant formula that is hypoallergenic, dairy-free, or lactose-free. A wide selection of specialist baby formulas now on the market includes soy formula, hydrolyzed formula, lactose-free formula, and hypoallergenic formula.
  • Your baby may need formula if you have a health problem that won’t allow you to breastfeed and you do not have access to donor breastmilk.

Talk to your doctor before feeding your baby anything besides your breastmilk. To learn more, visit the Breastfeeding a baby with a health problem section. To learn more about donor milk banks, visit the Breastfeeding and special situations section.

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