MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Kim McKechnie, lactation consultant at Northern Westchester Hospital, discusses the benefits of breastfeeding.
We know that in most cases “natural” is better, and breastfeeding is no exception. Breastfeeding your baby is the most healthful way to feed and nurture most newborns, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) backs this contention. The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, as well as continued breastfeeding for at least the first year as solid foods are introduced.
Breastfeeding your baby can also lead to broader benefits. Breastfed babies are sick less often than babies who are fed with formula because of the natural antibodies that are passed from a nursing mother to her baby. Breastfeeding protects babies from infections by contributing to their immune system resulting in lower occurrences of conditions such as ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory infections.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that we as a country benefit overall when mothers breastfeed. According to a recent study, if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for six months the United states would save about $13 billion per year because medical costs are lower for fully-breastfed infants than for those of never-breastfed babies.
Fewer sick days for babies also means fewer missed days of work for you. Another benefit is a cleaner environment – no plastic refuse and a shallower environmental “footprint.”
Not to be overlooked are the many benefits of breastfeeding for mothers, beginning with postpartum weight loss. It’s easier for a woman who’s gained a reasonable amount of weight during pregnancy to lose that weight more quickly if she breastfeeds.
Click here to learn about the broader benefits of breastfeeding on Northern Westchester Hospital’s blog.