Tuesday, June 19, 2012

5 Reasons Why You Should Breastfeed

The decision to breastfeed is a personal one. Most moms find that breastfeeding is the best choice for both her and child.

If you’re expecting, here’s why you should consider breastfeeding.

1. Your Baby is Healthier

Breast milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. It changes as your baby grows, giving him or her just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein.

“As a mother provides breast milk for her baby, she passes her antibodies through the breast milk and shares her immunity with her baby,” said Alayne Danzer, a Registered Nurse and internationally board certified lactation consultant at Mercy Hospital.

“Statistics show that infants who are breastfed are healthier and have fewer colds and ear infections. Breastfeeding also helps to prevent childhood obesity, allergies and diabetes.”

Breastfed babies are smarter too, said Tammy Kowalik, also a Registered Nurse and internationally board certified lactation consultant at Mercy Hospital. “Infants who are exclusively breast fed have a 10% higher IQ than formula fed infants.”

2. You Recover Faster & Lower Your Risk of Disease

The health benefits of breastfeeding aren’t limited to babies alone. When you breastfeed, you recover from pregnancy faster.

“When a mother nurses her baby, the hormones that are released cause her uterus to contract, helping to control postpartum bleeding,” said Danzer.

Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.

3. You Can Lose Weight Faster

Breastfeeding can get you out of maternity clothes and into your favorite clothes faster. Not only do hormones from breastfeeding cause the uterus to contract, returning it to pre-pregnancy size, but Danzer says that moms burn 500 to 800 calories per day by producing breast milk.

Tina Zbytek, a Registered Nurse and lactation consultant at Sisters Hospital, said, “Some moms are under the impression that their body shape will change – it’s a common misconception.”

4. You Can Save Money

Families can save an average of $2,500 per year by breastfeeding, said Kowalik. Breastfeeding eliminates the need to buy formula, and because it keeps mom and baby healthier, there are fewer trips to the doctor’s office and fewer days missed from work.

5. You Can Save Time and Hassle

“When a mother nurses her baby, her milk is ready at a moment’s notice. Breast milk is always available at the right concentration and temperature – just hold your baby close and nurse,” said Danzer.

There are no bottles or nipples sterilize and no formula to measure and mix. Plus, you don’t need to carry formula when you travel, whether you’re making a quick trip to the store or going on vacation.

Your body has everything it needs to feed your baby and keep him or her healthy. “When you know that your baby is thriving from you, it’s a bond that’s indescribable,” said Kowalik.  

Catholic Health’s maternity hospitals, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and Sisters of Charity Hospital, are both equipped to support breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding classes, taught by our lactation consultants, are offered, and lactation consultants and nurses are available to assist breastfeeding moms. Click here to learn more about the breastfeeding resources available to you.

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