Breastfeeding: It’s More Than Just Food
is best” is a phrase used everywhere to promote breastfeeding. Although that’s
true, breastfeeding is best for a multitude of reasons, and it’s not just as
simple as saying "breast is best”. The benefits of breastfeeding seem to be
endless, as scientists are continuously discovering more. Although breast milk
has incredible nutritious properties, it doesn’t stop there. Breastfeeding is
way more than just food. Breastfeeding provides babies with disease protection,
makes them feel secure, and also has fantastic benefits for the mother!
first days of breastfeeding, moms have colostrum, which is often called "baby’s
first vaccine.” This is because colostrum is so rich in antibodies, it helps
protect babies from diseases, during infancy, and into adulthood. But the
protection doesn’t stop there! As babies continue to breastfeed, and mom’s milk
turns from colostrum to mature milk, babies are still provided with antibodies
through mom’s milk. The best part is that breast milk is a living substance and
it changes daily. When a baby nurses, their saliva communicates with the
mother’s body, and tells her body what germs the baby has been exposed to.
Then, the mother’s milk will make antibodies to help protect her baby from
those germs. A mother’s breast milk is tailor fitted just for her baby and it
changes as baby’s needs change.
also helps babies feel secure. Babies are born into the world, after living
their entire existence in the womb. This opens up their senses to new smells,
sounds, sights, etc. All of the stimuli they experience can overwhelm a baby
and being at the mother’s breast is comforting to them. This benefits both the
baby and the mother! For the mother, it is a simple means of calming her baby,
as well as a great way for bonding. For the baby, the security they feel is
great for their emotional and mental development. When a baby feels their needs
are met, and they feel secure, studies have shown that it actually makes them
more independent as they grow.
also benefit greatly from breastfeeding! This isn’t just because breastfeeding
is free, simpler, and convenient, but it also provides her with health
benefits! Breastfeeding burns approximately 500 calories per day, so it helps
moms return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster. But not only does it burn
calories, it provides disease protection! Breastfeeding helps reduce a woman’s
risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and some studies even show that it
may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
benefits of breastfeeding seem to be never-ending. It will provide both mom and
baby with benefits that last a lifetime! For many mothers, they have the desire
to breastfeed, because they know how powerful breast milk is, but they can
trouble finding proper support. If you need breastfeeding support, the WIC
program, at the Clark County Health Department, offers the Breastfeeding Peer
Counselor Program to assist pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Also, we offer
monthly breastfeeding classes that are free and open to the public. Our next class will be held on August 21stfrom 11am-12pm. Class Topic: Pumping and Returning to Work. Park in the lower level parking lot, class
held in the downstairs conference room. For
more information, call (859)744-4482.
By: Kayla Sellers, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor