The Benefits of Breastfeeding

While pregnant, you will need to decide if you will breastfeed your baby. If you choose to breastfeed, the more you know about it before you deliver, the better. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breast-fed for 6-12 months. Breastfed babies have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies and other medical problems than do bottle-fed babies.

Nursing should begin within an hour after delivery if possible (when an infant is awake and the sucking urge is strong). If you decide to deliver at CentraState’s First Impressions Maternity Center, lactation consultants are available to assist the mother with education and direction on how to successfully breastfeed her baby. Even though you won’t be producing milk yet, your breasts contain colostrum, a thin fluid that contains antibodies, which are important for your newborn. Newborns nurse frequently, often every two hours. This will stimulate your breasts to produce plenty of milk. Later, your baby will settle into a more predictable routine.

A Healthy Choice for You and Your Baby
What if you could give your baby something that would help him or her fight infection and would reduce the risk of developing several lifelong ailments? Would you give it to your baby? You can! It’s called breast milk. Breast milk is not only a great nutritional product, but also has medicinal properties that help your baby fight infection and strengthen the immune system. Along with keeping mother and baby healthier, nursing an infant is a way for moms to bond closely with their babies.

Along with keeping mother and baby healthier, nursing an infant is a way for moms to bond closely with their babies.

Research on Breastfeeding
Hundreds of medical studies have shown that human milk and nursing optimize the health of both baby and mother. This effect starts immediately at birth and extends over a lifetime. Human milk is composed of approximately 300 identified products that help fight infection and offer immune protection. This includes fighters such as immunoglobulin A, maternal white blood cells, lactoferrin, lysozyme, epidermal growth factor and interleukin 10.

For Infants

Breast milk is the best source of nourishment for your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until at least 12 months of age. Once solid foods are added at six months of age, the AAP recommends that mothers continue to breastfeed until at least one year and beyond for as long as both mother and child wish. Many mothers and babies continue nursing during the first few years of life. Mother’s milk continues to be a sound nutritional product for a young child.

Disease Prevention
Infants who receive human milk reduce their risk of colds, pneumonia, severe blood infections (sepsis), necrotizing enterocolitis (a life-threatening disease of the gut that affects premature infants), acute lymphocytic leukemia of childhood, Type 1 and 2 diabetes, obesity, eczema and asthma. Breastfeeding has been shown to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding is also associated with higher IQ scores for infants.

For Mothers

Disease Prevention
Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of health problems in women, including Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and hypertension later in life. Moms have a lower risk of anemia following delivery, as well as a lower risk of developing postpartum depression.

Weight Loss
Nursing mothers are also more likely to reach their prepregnancy weight. Mothers who breastfeed generally lose more weight by the time their babies are 3-6 months old as compared to mothers who don’t breastfeed.

If Baby Comes Early
Mother’s milk is very important when a baby is born prematurely for several reasons. Human milk significantly decreases the risk of life-threatening blood (sepsis) and gut (necrotizing enterocolitis) infections. Breastfed premature infants are more likely to tolerate their feedings, resulting in earlier discharge from the hospital and generally better developmental outcomes. Medical research suggests that the more mother’s milk given, the better the outcome for preterm infants.

This information has led national medical academies, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, to conclude that mother’s milk has unique properties that make it a superior nutritional product for your baby that cannot be obtained in any other way.

We’re here to help!
The Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center at CentraState offers breastfeeding education classes that are designed to teach you everything you need to know about breastfeeding before baby arrives. After your baby is born, our maternity center’s lactation consultants are available seven days a week for breastfeeding lessons; and after you return home, you’ll be given a special phone number to call should you have additional questions. And, you can even make an appointment at the Lactation Center at CentraState to get one-on-one attention for any issues you may have.

Register for a breastfeeding class at CentraState or call (732) 308-0570.


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