The benefits of breastfeeding are endless, and yet, our society still has a stigma against this perfectly natural phenomenon. In an effort to promote the health benefits for both mother and baby, here are some tips, info and resources.
Benefits for Both Mom and Baby
According to the U.S. Department of Health’s Office on Women’s Health, breastfeeding is beneficial to both mother and child. For the child, a mother’s milk provides the perfect food, tailored to that child’s needs. Breastfed babies, according to research, have lower risk of diseases like asthma and leukemia. Additionally, breastfed babies are at lower risk for ear infections, childhood obesity and respiratory infections.
As for the mother, benefits include lower risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Additionally, breastfeeding can combat Type 2 diabetes and could potentially help the nursing mother return to a healthy weight after delivery.
Supporting Mothers Who Want to Breastfeed
Though completely natural, starting the process of breastfeeding can be stressful for new mothers. Sometimes, babies have trouble latching, and this can make mothers feel like they have failed. Providing support and help to mothers who are struggling is key to preventing them from giving up. Here are some great ways for breastfeeding mothers to be supported:
- Lactation services– many hospitals provide lactation counseling and support for new moms. These lactation specialists can help mothers ease into the process.
- Education– some states offer breastfeeding coalitions for mothers where education, encouragement and advocacy are provided. The states that offer these services include:
- Family support– the most important support system for a new, breastfeeding mother will come from family members. It might be hard for a new mother to articulate her concerns, which makes the people closest to her of utmost importance. Just providing someone to talk to or doing an extra chore around the house can help.
- The United States Breastfeeding Committee– With an abundance of resources and information, the USBC is a great place to start. Simply click here for more information.