by MMC Board Member Pat Benton, MS RD
Breast milk has all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months of life. After six months, continue breastfeeding while adding solid foods.
Breast milk has antibodies and other factors that help protect your baby against illness. Breastfed babies will get sick less often, have fewer infections, and make fewer trips to the doctor’s office. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes and certain types of cancer. They are also less likely to develop asthma. The risk of a breastfed baby having sudden infant death syndrome is also lower.
Breastfeeding can lower a women’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Breastfeeding also helps you bond with your baby and may lower your risk for postpartum depression. It also saves you money – you don’t need to buy formula. With planning and support, breastfeeding can be an enjoyable experience for you, your partner, and your baby.
Discuss how you want to feed your baby with your partner and your family. Talk to your doctor, your baby’s doctor, your WIC nutritionist and your peer counselor and ask them to help you.
Find where there is help with breastfeeding in your community or a nearby breastfeeding class.
When you are at the hospital, request to speak with a lactation consultant or your peer counselor as soon as possible after your baby is born. Ask lots of questions! Be patient. Both you and your baby will be learning how to breastfeed. Enjoy your baby!
For additional information on breastfeeding your baby, go to www.bfi.fcs.msue.msu.edu and
look under fact sheets.