Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial ways a mother can care for her baby. The experience of breastfeeding is very special and while some may feel breastfeeding is unnecessary, it provides endless value for your child, and is just as rewarding for you, too. It may be challenging at first, but you and your baby can succeed and find value in the numerous benefits of breastfeeding.
Benefits for Baby
--The colostrum - a yellow, watery pre-milk – that your breasts make for the first few days after birth helps your newborn’s digestive system grow and function.
--Breast milk has antibodies that help your baby’s immune system fight off sickness. Babies who are breastfed also have a lower risk of asthma, obesity, allergies, and colic.
--The protein and fat in breast milk are better used by the baby’s body than the protein and fat in formula.
--Babies who are breastfed have less gas, fewer feeding problems, and often less constipation than those given formulas.
--Breastfed babies have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
--Breastfeeding provides contact that babies yearn. Frequent skin-to-skin contact with Mom is calming and comforting.
Benefits for Mom
--It is convenient – Your baby’s food is always available and ready at the right temperature.
--Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which makes the uterus contract and helps it return to its normal size more quickly.
--It may decrease your risk of some forms of cancer and other illnesses.
--It may help you lose weight gained during pregnancy faster than you would if you were bottle-feeding.
--It is less expensive than bottle feeding with formula.
--It creates a special bond between you and your baby.
With help from our Fort HealthCare lactation consultants, 80-90% of mothers begin breastfeeding their babies shortly after birth, and studies have shown that 91% of mothers who deliver their babies Fort Memorial Hospital Great Expectations Birthing Center are successfully breastfeeding at both two- and five-weeks after birth.
At Fort HealthCare, breastfeeding is discussed throughout pregnancy, and more information is presented both in person and through our childbirth preparation classes. Fort HealthCare’s Breastfeeding Support Group meets the last Thursday of every month from 1:30-3:00 in the OB Classroom at the hospital. There is a lactation consultant who can answer questions and perform infant weight checks. Moms who attend are typically nearing the end of their pregnancy or have a nursing newborn, infant or toddler. All nursing or curious moms are welcome! As always, moms are invited and encouraged to call our Lactation department (920) 568-5396 for guidance on any breastfeeding related issue.