There are many benefits of breastfeeding. For however long you choose to nurse, your baby’s immune system can benefit greatly from breast milk. The following are just a few of the benefits for a baby and the mother.
- Easily digested
- Perfectly matched nutrition
- May have protective effect against SIDS
- Less gastrointestinal disturbances, ear infections and allergies
- Skin-to-skin, eye and voice contact
- Helps the uterus return to it normal size faster
- Helpful with weight loss
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
- Less likely to develop uterine, endometrial and ovarian cancer
- Reduces the risk of breast cancer
Because of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. This is based on scientific evidence that show benefits for infant survival and proper growth and development. Breast milk provides all the nutrients that an infant needs during the first six months. Exclusive breastfeeding may also reduce infant death caused by common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia and hastens recovery during illness. For special medical situations when a mother’s own milk isn’t available, Emerson now has pasteurized donated breast milk available for supplementation.
Helpful tips on becoming successful at breastfeeding
- “Watch your baby and not the clock” is the advice to live by. Learn your baby’s feeding cues and feed early and often.
- Your baby will eat 8-12 times every 24 hours.
- Rest as much as you can — sleep when the baby sleeps.
- Milk production is regulated by supply and demand. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will make.
Signs of hunger
- Sucking on tongue or lips during sleep
- Sucking on fingers
- Moving arms and hands toward mouth
- Fussing or fidgeting while sleeping
- Turning head from side to side
Signs of being full
- Falls asleep
- Relaxes the body
- Opens his fists
- Relaxes the forehead
- Lets go of the nipple