Benefits of breastfeeding

Not just good for baby, but good for moms, too!

Benefits of breastfeeding

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for baby's first six months? However, only 24 percent of new moms actually following through to the six-month mark. New moms often don’t know where to turn to find reliable information and can often feel overwhelmed.

Here are some facts on breastfeeding and the benefits for mom and baby:

• Breast milk provides baby with all the necessary nutrients for healthy development. It also contains antibodies to ward off common childhood illnesses.

• Breastfeeding causes moms to burn up to an extra 500 calories per day.

• For moms, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life. It also lowers rates of obesity.

READ MORE: The reality of being a working mom while breastfeeding

• Infants will breastfeed until they feel full and on average, they remove 67 percent of mom’s available milk. With a bottle, babies typically feed until the bottle is empty.

• Adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to be overweight or obese, and they perform better in intelligence tests.

• Breastfeeding exposes baby to several different tastes and smells which can influence a child’s acceptance of food when weaning.

• Mom’s breast milk completes the development of baby’s stomach lining, making it 15 times thicker than that of a formula-fed baby.

• It’s helpful for nursing moms to get support from others; about 73 percent of moms get outside help for breastfeeding problems.

• Breastfeeding helps babies regulate their breathing (newborns have immature respiratory systems).

• Breastfeeding soothes babies and can be a pain reliever — breast milk contains endorphins that calm baby.