July 16, 2018 by Bethany Rundell
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Baby and Mom
Breastfeeding has long been known for its nutritional advantages for the baby as clinical studies continue to reaffirm the health benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mom.
Breast milk boosts the immune systems of infants, giving them the best natural building blocks for healthy growth.
Another benefit of breastfeeding is the “skin-to-skin” contact that happens naturally, according to Karen Mattson, lactation consultant at the Center for Women & Infants at South Miami Hospital.
“Skin-to-skin” refers to the infant only having a diaper on next to mom’s bare chest.
“Skin-to-skin is vital in all stages of breastfeeding, especially in the first hour,” says Ms. Mattson. “It’s really comforting to baby. It helps get the baby to know mom by her scent and go to the breast.”
The baby isn’t the only one who gets the benefit. Mom does too.
(Video: The Baptist Health South Florida News Team hears from Karen Mattson, lactation consultant at the Center for Women & Infants at South Miami Hospital, about the many benefits of breastfeeding. Video by Dylan Kyle.)
Several medical authorities, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding.
Breast milk provides an excellent mix of vitamins, protein, and fat — everything your baby needs to grow. And breast milk is normally digested easily by infants, more so than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding also lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies.
The benefits for mom include:
- Closer relationships between mom and baby
- Reduces the risk of postpartum depression
- Lowers stress
- Less risk of ovarian cancer
- Helps burn off pregnancy weight
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
It’s best to prepare for breastfeeding before the baby comes. Baptist Health South Florida offers many childbirth classes leading up to your pregnancy including Basics of Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding for Working Moms. For more information, go to BaptistHealth.net.