Benefits of Breastfeeding

For infants

  • Breast milk is a nutritionally complete, easily digested, hypoallergenic food. It provides optimal nutrition for the first 6 months of life, and with the addition of solid foods, is recommended by the Academy of Pediatrics for the remainder of the first year and thereafter for as long as mother and child desire.
  • Human milk supports optimal growth and development. Human milk contains a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances that are not found in artificial milks.
  • Breastfeeding enhances bonding and healthy emotional development.
  • Infants who are breastfed tend to have fewer ear, respiratory and diarrheal infections, and other illnesses.
  • The mother's immunities are transmitted through colostrum, a nourishing pre-milk produced for the first postpartum week, and through breast milk.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding helps protect many infants against symptoms of food allergy. Breastfeeding results in delayed exposure to allergenic compounds in foods and may protect sensitive infants from both minor and serious allergic reactions.
  • Breastfeeding may have lifetime health benefits against certain types of cancer, diabetes, Crohn's disease, celiac and colitis.

For moms

  • Helps the uterus get back to pre-pregnancy size and shape.
  • Return more quickly to pre-pregnancy weight.
  • May delay ovulation and menstruation.
  • Protects against premenopausal breast and ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis. Lactation is among the major lifestyle factors that positively contribute to peak bone mass development of premenopausal women. Greater total duration of breastfeeding has been reported to reduce the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.
  • Fewer work or school days missed due to baby's illness.
  • Creates a special time for mother-baby bonding.
  • Release of prolactin, a calming "mothering" hormone.
  • Less time spent preparing formula bottles.
  • Promotes maternal confidence. Evidence suggests that breastfeeding may instill confidence and reduce maternal anxiety in new mothers.

For families

  • Healthy mother and baby
  • Economical
  • Easy traveling
  • Partner and others can feed expressed breast milk in a bottle whenever mom needs to be away from her baby.
Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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