How breastfeeding can benefit you and your baby
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first 6 months. After 6 months, it’s recommended to continue breastfeeding along with introducing complementary food for 1 year or longer. Complementary foods are foods other than breast milk or infant formula to provide nutrition.
Breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition that supports growth and development for your baby. Not only does breastfeeding benefit your baby, but you as well!
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for my baby?
Milk from breastfeeding has cells, hormones, and antibodies that help protect your baby from getting sick. This protection is unique for your baby and changes every day to meet the needs of your baby. According to the Office on Women’s Health, research shows that babies that breastfeed have a lower risk of:
- Childhood leukemia
- Childhood obesity
- Ear infections
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Lower respiratory infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Type 2 diabetes
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for me?
Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for your baby, but for you as well! Breastfeeding helps can help your health and healing after delivering a baby. It has also been shown to lower your risk for:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain types of breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
Breastfeeding can even help you prevent pregnancy. This is called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM). For LAM to be more effective, you should start breastfeeding immediately after your delivery for every four hours during the day and every six hours at night up to six months. LAM is only effective if your baby is not receiving any supplemental foods or drinks, and if you have not gotten your period. However, LAM is not 100% effective and you may need a backup method or use a different method to prevent pregnancy when breastfeeding. There are plenty of different birth control options birth control options that you can use when breastfeeding. For more birth control options when breastfeeding, check out our blog post: A Quick Birth Control Guide for Breastfeeding Moms.
What if I can’t breastfeed?
There are multiple reasons why you might not be able to breastfeed, and that’s okay! There is nothing wrong with formula feeding. Your baby will still grow up healthy and strong. Sometimes formula feeding is the only option.
If you are needing support for breastfeeding, you may qualify for support through Tapestry of Health WIC Program. WIC is the Women Infants and Children program that offers comprehensive nutrition screening, one-on-one counseling and educational services, supplemental food vouchers, and breastfeeding education and support.
Breastfeeding is beneficial for both you and your baby. However, if you are unable to breastfeed, that’s okay too. If you have questions about breastfeeding and formula feeding or are looking for support, take control today and find a Tapestry of Health or family planning provider near you!