August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week! It’s the perfect time to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding for your baby, your health, your environment, and your wallet.
The World Alliance of Breastfeeding Action (WABA) explains that breastfeeding promotes the growth and development of children. It provides not only the best possible nutrition, but also protects children against diseases and assures their care. Exclusive breastfeeding without other foods or fluids for the first 4 to 6 months of life is the best start for all babies.
Advantages of breastfeeding for your baby:
- Provides all nutrients for physical and mental development
- Confers a healthy immunity by anti infective constituents in colostrum and breastmilk which helps build the infant’s immune system
- Prevents infections caused by germs that contaminate artificial feeding bottles and teats
- Reduces the risk of developing obesity and allergies
Along with the fulfillment and emotional connection you experience when providing your baby the best possible nourishment during their first months of life, there are several health benefits to breastfeeding.
Advantages of breastfeeding for your health:
- Helps mothers recover from childbirth more quickly
- Reduces fertility by delaying returned ovulation after birth resulting in wider child spacing and safer childbearing
- Reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease
- Releases two beneficial hormones: Prolactin that allows you to relax by producing a sensation of peace and nurturing; and Oxytocin that enhances the sense of love and attachment you feel when you and your baby are connected through breastfeeding.
WABA explains that breastmilk is the most ecologically sound food available to humans. It is produced and delivered to the consumer without any pollution. It is a natural resource of enormous value and has only positive effects on the environment.
Advantages of breastfeeding on your environment:
- Breastmilk produces no waste: it is produced in the right amounts for the baby’s needs. Mothers need only the smallest amount of extra energy, which is often taken from body fat (even malnourished mothers can produce enough quality breastmilk to feed a baby).
- Breastmilk needs no extra packaging.
- Breastmilk does not have to be shipped around the world (but a mother has a ready supply wherever she goes).
- Most women do not menstruate when breastfeeding and therefore need fewer towels, tampons or cloths. This reduces the need for fibers, bleaching, packaging and disposal.
Breastfeeding saves money. Period. And your wallet will thank you.
Advantages of breastfeeding on your wallet:
- Breastmilk is FREE. It is estimated that the cost of formula during the first year of baby’s life is up to $3,000 retail. That doesn’t include bottles, nipples, and fuel to go to and from the store.
- Breastfed babies are healthier, saving families time and money spent on doctor visits and medicines.
- Moms that breastfeed lose weight faster, lowering health risks caused by obesity, which helps save on medical costs.
- Breastfeeding equipment, such as breast pumps and milk storage bags, can be purchased with pre-tax dollars from flexible spending accounts (FSA), or are tax deductible for women without an FSA so long as their out-of-pocket medical costs for the year exceed 10 percent of their income (often the case in the first year baby is born).
District Health Department #10, through our Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, offers a host of breastfeeding education and support, including:
- Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
Certified Lactation Specialists (CLS)
Internationally Board Certified Lactation Counselors (IBCLC)
Assistance with breast pumps and parts, including proper fitting of breast pump shields
Prenatal breastfeeding education, both one-on-one and classes
Postpartum breastfeeding support, including latching issues, breast/nipple discomfort, and supply issues
Nutrition support for breastfeeding mothers
Monthly breastfeeding support groups, open to the community, not only WIC participants
Give us a call at 888-217-3904 to connect with the WIC office in your area.