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Breastfeeding: Good for baby and moms

When it comes to feeding your baby, Mother Nature knows best. Breast milk has just what a baby needs to grow and thrive. Plus, breastfeeding is good for moms too!

 “Breastfeeding can help moms recover from childbirth faster,” said Allison Harr, DNP, CNM, certified nurse midwife for Aspirus. “Breast milk provides a lot of nutrients little ones need to be healthy. It also helps babies develop immunity to illnesses, like colds. Whether you choose to breastfeed your baby is entirely up to you and however babies get those nutrients, be it formula or breast milk, that’s what’s important.”

 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding promotes better health for mothers and children alike. Increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 800,000 lives every year, the majority being children under 6 months old. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is estimated that increased breastfeeding could avert 20,000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer.

 During world breastfeeding week, August 1 – 7, Harr shares additional benefits for both mom and baby:

 For your baby
Breast milk has the right mix of protein, fat, sugar and water. And it's easy for a baby to digest. Breast milk also helps protect your baby from illness, such as ear infection. It lowers the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). And breastfed babies have a lower risk for problems like asthma and diabetes later in life.

 For you
Breastfeeding your baby may help you burn calories. And you may lose baby weight more quickly. Plus, it can lower your risk for breast cancer, diabetes and other illnesses. And don't forget all that bonding time with your little one. It's priceless.

 Ways and means
Get ready to breastfeed before your baby arrives. Take a childbirth class. You'll learn great tips on how to feed your baby. Know that it can take some time for you and your baby to get the hang of things. Talk to a lactation consultant for help. Your health care provider can also help.

 Be sure to go to your checkups after your baby is born too. Your provider will check your overall health. And you can ask any questions you still have about breastfeeding.

 It's best to give your baby breast milk for as long as possible—a year or more. If you need to go back to work, don't worry. You can pump breast milk so your baby can have it in a bottle when you are at work.

 “No matter how long or short a time you breastfeed your baby, be glad you did,” Harr said. “You'll know you gave your baby a great start.”

 For breastfeeding support anytime, day or night, call the Aspirus “Warm Line” at 715-847-2910 or toll-free at 866-227-0105.

 For more information on birthing or other services at Aspirus, visit www.aspirus.org.