Wellness Matters

Mother Knows Best: 7 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Baby

October 17, 2016


Kimberely Richey, RN
Lactation Consultant
Women's Hospital

A mother’s milk is the most natural source of sustenance for a baby. Breast milk provides amazing benefits to both the child and the mom. Breastfed babies are less likely to get sick and have a lower rate of illness as adults. A mother can provide the exact mix of nutrients that will be best for the child.

When the baby latches on to the breast, it creates a vacuum. This vacuum pulls the infant’s saliva into the nipple, where mammary gland receptors analyze it. This is how a mom’s body knows how to make antibodies to any germs the baby has come into contact with.

Amazing.

Here are seven reasons why breastfeeding is so good for a baby:

  1. Breast milk is custom-made for the baby and contains easily digestible proteins along with the right amount of fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
  2. Breast milk changes through the different stages of development. The first few days of milk is called colostrum, which contains immune protective ingredients such as antibodies and living cells. It is like a natural vaccine. The milk changes as the baby develops and grows to provide just the right nutrients. Formula remains constant and unchanging.
  3. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop diseases such as pneumonia, eczema, asthma, diabetes, leukemia and sudden infant death syndrome.
  4. Breast milk is fresh and at the optimal temperature for a baby’s liking.
  5. Babies regulate their own milk consumption from the breast, lowering the risk for obesity.
  6. Babies are born nearsighted. Breastfeeding brings them to just the right distance to see the mother’s face.
  7. The quiet time during feeding creates a healthy bond between mother and child while offering the baby a sense of warmth and security. The mother and infant interaction also helps long-term brain development.

And the benefits are not just for the child. Breastfeeding is also good for the mother.

  • It stimulates the contraction of the uterus, speeding up recovery from delivery.
  • Breastfeeding and milk production require extra energy. This uses up reserves built up during pregnancy and helps the mother return to her pre-pregnancy shape sooner.
  • Breastfeeding stabilizes a mother’s emotions after delivery, easing postpartum depression.
  • Every year a mother breastfeeds, her risk of developing invasive breast cancer is reduced by six percent.

Breastfeeding your child in public is legal in North Carolina

Breastfeeding in public has had its share of controversy. What exactly are the rules? In North Carolina, since 1993, the law is very clear on a woman’s right to breastfeed in public:
“…a woman may breastfeed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.” - N.C. General Statute 14-190.9(b)

If a mother is able and willing to breastfeed, it is recommended for both the mother and child. When the baby is hungry, they must eat, even in public places. Let your common sense and modesty guide your decision on where to feed. But remember, the law is on your side and the health of your child is priority number one.

Breastfeeding is the natural way for a mother to feed children. There are plenty of people who cannot or will not breastfeed that still have amazing, healthy children. However, the benefits of breastfeeding to both the mother and child are ideal. If a mother chooses to breastfeed, she may have difficulty in the beginning. But with the persistence and the aid of a lactation consultant, she will find reward in breastfeeding her child.   

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