For any new mom, the decision about whether to breastfeed is a very personal one—and one that's influenced by her health, circumstances and even the baby's ability to latch on.
But in the case that you can—and want to—breastfeed, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk as your baby's sole source of food until he or she is 6 months old. After that time you can combine breastfeeding and other foods.
Breast milk offers many benefits for babies, including:
- Causes less stomach upset, diarrhea and constipation than formula
- Contains important antibodies
- Lessens the risk of SIDS
- Promotes a healthier weight
- Protects against allergies and eczema
- Provides ideal nutrition for your baby
- Reduces risk of disease
While these aforementioned benefits are wonderful, there is also one aspect of breastfeeding we have yet to discuss—the mother. That's right, breastfeeding benefits moms, too. Let's take a look at some of the benefits:
Helps You Recover Post-Delivery
Studies have shown that the act of breastfeeding helps the uterus contract, which can help reduce post-delivery blood loss. In addition, it can also help to ease some anxiety you might feel as a new mom, as it helps to create a bond between you and your newborn.
Burns Extra Calories
Did you know that you can burn an additional 300–500 calories a day simply from breast milk production? Therefore, you might be able to use breastfeeding as a tool to help you lose weight—although it shouldn't be a focus, especially after just giving birth.
Reduces the Risk of Certain Diseases
Just as breastfeeding can help reduce the risk of a number of diseases in your baby, it can also help you to reduce your own risk of:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Heart disease
Are you looking to gain more knowledge about labor, breastfeeding and other aspects of parenthood before your new addition is born? Be sure to check out our classes available at Parkridge East Hospital and register today!