Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding is one of the biggest decisions facing new mothers, and knowing the facts is vital in making the right choice. Rather than flip a coin, take the time to be informed. Here is some information that explains why breastfeeding is good for your baby.
Breastfeeding benefits your child
Breastfeeding is good for your baby’s health. Research shows that babies who breastfeed are at a lower risk of developing certain health issues such as infections, diarrhea, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
A mother’s first milk, called colostrum, is incredibly important for a newborn baby. Colostrum is rich in nutrients, and also provides antibodies that protect newborn babies from disease and infection.
A new mother only produces colostrum for a few days after childbirth, and then begins producing mature milk. However, this milk is the perfect combination of nutrients for a growing baby, and ensure that your child grows and develops properly, and still contains important antibodies.
Another advantage of breastfeeding is the bond that’s created between a mother and child.
Breastfeeding benefits mothers
Breastfeeding is good for the mother’s health too. Women who breastfeed are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer – including ovarian cancer – than women who do not breastfeed. It releases hormones in the body, burns calories, delays the return of the menstrual period, keeps bones strong, and helps the uterus return to normal size more quickly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 80% of mothers start breastfeeding their newborn child. However, less than 20% of mothers continue to exclusively breastfeed her child after 6 months.
Again, the physical contact of breastfeeding provides closeness and a bond that benefits both mother and child.
Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding
The advantages of breastfeeding are well documented. Breast milk provides complete nutrition for the child, it offers health benefits for the mother, it’s easier to digest by babies, it’s free, and it’s readily available.
It’s certainly possible for a baby to grow up healthy on formula; however breast milk provides a number of other benefits in addition to complete nutrition for a baby. Of course, there may be circumstances that prevent breastfeeding.
We’re here to help
Lactation consultation is just one of the many services Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics provide for new mothers. Our board certified pediatricians deliver comprehensive newborn care at two locations. Call and schedule an appointment today!