Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It’s filled with just the right amount of nutrients and is gentle on little stomachs, intestines and other body systems. If you’re struggling with whether or not you should breastfeed, here are a few things to keep in mind.
When it comes to nutrients, breast milk has a clear advantage over formula. Not only are breast milk nutrients better absorbed and used by your baby, studies show breastfed children typically do better on intelligence tests when they grow older thanks to better brain growth and nervous system development. For new mothers, breastfeeding can also help with losing weight gained during pregnancy.
Breast milk protects babies from many serious health problems throughout their lives as well. Breastfed babies have a lower risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), leukemia, getting asthma or allergy related skin-problems, and less long-term health problems as they grow up, including diabetes and obesity. Babies aren’t the only ones benefiting from the long-term benefits of breastfeeding. Moms are less likely to get breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes later in life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months. Exclusive breastfeeding means giving your baby only breast milk; no water, sugar water, or formula may be consumed. Exclusive breastfeeding gives your baby the best protection against health problems, and prevents breastfeeding problems. The AAP also recommends using pacifiers after breastfeeding is well established to decrease the risk of SIDS.
Our Resources are Here for You
Need help getting started? Visit our Breastfeeding Education page for educational materials, classes, support groups, and more. Baptist Health’s Health Library is an excellent resource for all things breastfeeding. We also offer services from Expressly For You, the state’s only full service, one-stop lactation store in Arkansas. Set up a consultation with one of their warm line experts to discuss your breastfeeding needs by calling 501-202-7378.