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Baby’s best first food ─ breast milk

Published in OB/GYN Services, For the Health of It Author: Jeanne Friebe, BSN, RNC, IBCLC

When you are having a baby there are many important decisions to make. One of the most personal decisions is how you will feed your baby. Breastfeeding is recommended for many reasons and is the best first food that your baby can receive. There continues to be endless amounts of research to support the benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby. Breast milk comes from you and is perfectly designed to meet the growing needs of your baby.

Breastfeeding also has many important health benefits for you as a woman. 

Benefits for baby

  • Breast milk contains antibodies which protect your baby from a variety of illnesses and infections. Formula does not offer this protection.
  • Breast milk reduces allergies and asthma.
  • Breast milk is easily digestible. Human milk is for human babies.
  • Reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • Reduces the likelihood of childhood obesity.
  • Is associated with higher IQ levels.
  • Decreases risk of ear infections.
  • Promotes special bonding between mother and baby.

Benefits for you

  • Breast milk is free, even if you need to pump your milk and put it in a bottle when you return to work. Currently most insurance covers the cost of a breast pump.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Is associated with long-term cardiovascular health as a part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
  • Helps to prevent post-partum hemorrhage and helps to shrink your uterus.
  • Helps you get more rest because you don’t have to shop for formula, prepare formula or clean bottles. You just put your baby to your breast and feed with no mess ─ no fuss.
  • With breastfeeding there is less equipment to buy, maintain and store.
  • Breastfeeding promotes bonding and supplies a lifetime of cherished memories.

If breastfeeding becomes challenging, seek out help from a lactation consultant and or other health care professionals that support and promote breastfeeding success. It may be challenging at first, but it's worth all or your effort.

Remember, breastfeeding is a gift that lasts a lifetime. The road to lifelong health begins with breastfeeding.