August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month
In recognition of National Breastfeeding Month, Einstein Healthcare Network offers the following tips:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, although any amount of breastfeeding offers benefits. After six months, the AAP recommends continuing to breastfeed for one year or longer, along with introduction of solid foods.
Breast milk contains the right blend of fat, protein and antibodies to help infants develop and be protected from disease. The initial milk, called colostrum, has sometimes been called the baby’s “first immunization,” due to all the protective substances contained in this first milk. In addition, breast milk is unique for each baby’s needs—it is custom-made for each baby.
Many studies have shown the benefits of breastfeeding to baby, including:
- Fewer illnesses, such as respiratory, stomach or ear infections. If a baby does develop these illnesses, they are usually less severe when they happen.
- Less risk of developing asthma or allergies. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, meaning no solid food, formula or water, offers the most protection.
- Fewer doctor visits and hospitalizations, due to the decrease in the number of infections.
- Easier digestion.
- Enhanced brain development.
- Reduction in a child’s risk of developing certain childhood cancers.
- It may also prevent diseases that occur later in life such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and inflammatory bowel disease.
- A sense of bonding, comfort and security from the mother.
Benefits of breastfeeding to mother include:
- Faster postpartum recovery.
- Helps with weight loss.
- Lower risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
- Lower risk for osteoporosis.
- It’s convenient and saves time—there’s no formula to mix or bottles to wash.
- Fewer sick days for mothers who work outside the home.
- Breast milk is free.
Einstein offers certified lactation consultants and breastfeeding counselors. Our trained nursing staff also provides lactation support.
For more information, visit: http://www.einstein.edu/obstetrics-and-gynecology/breastfeeding/ or call 1-800-EINSTEIN.