As a long time breastfeeding advocate I am thrilled that the month of August has been dedicated National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Choosing to breastfeed provides mother and babies with countless benefits and leading medical experts recommend that mothers breastfeed their infants for at least six to 12 months. Extending the life of breastfeeding is something I am extremely passionate about and the main reason I invented the Milkscreen test to detect the presence of alcohol in breast milk.
In honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month I wanted to share 10 reasons why mothers everywhere should choose to breastfeed.
- Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. It contains all of the nutrients that they need to grow and thrive. Scientists have yet to even discover all of the components of breast milk, and much of what they have discovered cannot be synthesized for use in formula.
- Breast milk is easily digestible and does not stress a baby's immature digestive system the way formula can. Breastfed babies are much less likely to experience constipation or diarrhea than formula fed babies. They are also less likely to go through the gastrointestinal pain that many formula fed babies experience when a certain formula "doesn't agree with them."
- Breastfeeding help a mother's uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size after childbirth. This lessens the chance of postpartum hemorrhaging.
- During breastfeeding, a mother's body releases a hormone called Prolactin, which induces feelings of calmness, relaxation, and motherly love. Prolactin present in the milk also contributes to feelings of sleepiness in the baby. This helps explain why most breastfed babies will drift peacefully to sleep while they nurse.
- Breastfeeding provides immunities to an infant that he would not otherwise receive. These immunities protect the baby against illnesses like diarrhea, ear infections, colds, and RSV. Though breastfed babies do get sick, their illnesses are often quite mild compared to those of formula fed babies.
- Breastfeeding protects mothers from developing breast cancer later in life. Studies report that breastfeeding for several years (with multiple children) can reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer by almost 66 percent.
- Because of the immunities in breast milk, breastfed infants experience, on average, 20 percent fewer ear infections, 50 percent fewer bouts of diarrhea, and 56 percent fewer hospitalizations than formula fed infants.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A study conducted in Sweden discovered that formula fed infants are as much as five times more likely to die from SIDS than babies who are breastfed.
- Admittedly, the early weeks of breastfeeding are a time of learning for both mother and baby. Once things are well established, though, breastfeeding makes feeding a baby super simple. The milk is always the right temperature - there's never a need to heat up a bottle in the middle of the night. No need to wash bottles either!
- Breastfeeding is free! With formula costing over $30 a week to feed a baby, no one can argue the cost-saving benefits of breastfeeding.
We know why we should breastfeed but for some women breastfeeding can be very challenging. For more information on breastfeeding challenges and how to overcome them, I invite you to visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/Breastfeeding/common-challenges/
Here’s wishing you and your family health and happiness.
Julie Jumonville, inventor of Milkscreen