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Breast milk is powerful
Colostrum is the first milk your body makes after giving birth and is packed with antibodies. Those help your baby develop immunities that protect against infection and other health complications. It also helps eye and brain development. Even if you don’t plan to breast-feed, you can still pump and give your baby a healthy start. Once you’ve given birth, ask for a lactation consultant, and begin nursing or pumping as soon as possible.
Breast milk is easily digested
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding only until 6 months of age and then continued breast-feeding with the addition of iron-rich baby food. Moms also need support for breast-feeding during the first year. Breast milk offers perfect nutrition and changes to meet your baby’s growing needs.
Breast milk saves money
Formula feeding for a year can cost more than $1,000; breast milk is free. Plus, the longer you breast-feed, the more benefits your baby receives. Even if you choose to pump and express your milk, the long-term cost of a breast pump is still less than buying formula for a year. Check with a lactation consultant for advice on selecting the right breast pump for you.
Breast milk decreases health risks
Breast-fed babies are less at risk for: • Respiratory infections (particularly RSV) • Ear infections • Dental caries • Diarrhea • Asthma • Food allergies • Colic
Breast-feeding makes you stronger.
Breast-feeding offers many advantages for moms, by: • Helping the uterus return to its normal size • Reducing bleeding after birth • Promoting healthy weight gained during pregnancy • Lowering the risk of osteroporosis • Lowering the risk of some forms of ovarian and breast cancer • Providing built-in rest periods for new mothers. MP
Ruth Munday is a lactation consultant with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.