Breastfeeding benefits for you and baby

woman breastfeeding baby

There are a lot of questions, apprehensions and anxiety that comes with being a new parent. But within all the questions and the many answers and opinions you’ll likely receive from others, there is one question that should be easy for new moms to answer: Should I breastfeed? The simple answer is yes. While there may be complications or setbacks, and some moms just aren’t able to breastfeed, most moms should consider breastfeeding for at least the first six months of their baby’s life.

“Breastfeeding and human milk are the normative standards for infant feeding and nutrition.  Given the documented short and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of Breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and NOT only a lifestyle choice.”  –American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Human Milk, February 27, 2012

When a baby breastfeeds, the risk is reduced for many health issues, including ear infections, pneumonia and colds, asthma, obesity, diabetes, leukemia, RSV bronchiolitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, inflammatory bowel disease and vomiting/diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis decreases. Additionally, there is a 75 percent decrease in the risk of the baby suffering from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) or SUIDS (sudden unexplained infant death syndrome). In infants who are born early (or premature infants), human milk improves brain growth and development, decreases rates of serious infections and leads to fewer hospitalizations in the first year of life.

There are also many benefits to the breastfeeding mother, including:

  • Infant bonding is enhanced
  • Faster return to pre-pregnancy weight
  • Decreased rheumatoid arthritis
  • Decreased heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes
  • Reduced risk of breast cancer
  • Decreased risk of ovarian cancer

It’s also important to note, if 90 percent of mothers breastfed exclusively for six months, there would be a cost savings of $1.3 billion per year in the United States. Healthier breastfed babies reduce the amount of time parents need to take off from work, and the health benefits to the mother reduce costs of care for chronic illnesses later in life.

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Whether you’re a new mom, a friend of a new mom, a spouse of a new mom, a parent of a new mom or employer of a new mom, now is the time to educate yourself on the benefits of breastfeeding and encouraging others to do the same. Be the support the new mom in your life needs to empower her to make the best choices she can for her new baby.


Breastfeeding in Kentucky

While on average, 77 percent of U.S. infants are breastfed77, Kentucky lags behind at 52.6 percent, with only Mississippi reporting a lower percentage. Nationally in 2010, 49 percent of infants were breastfeeding at 6 months old and 27 percent at 12 months. In Kentucky, only 32 percent of infants were breastfeeding at 6 months old and 18 percent at 12 months. For those infants who were breastfeeding, 33.4 percent did so exclusively at 3 months old and 14.4 percent at 6 months old, bringing Kentucky closer to the national averages of 37 percent at 3 months and 16 percent at six months.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Breastfeeding Report Card, 2013.


Breastfeeding classes

Breastfeeding Essentials

Taught by a certified lactation consultant, this class provides advice and techniques for creating a successful breastfeeding experience. This class is ideal for expectant moms who have decided to nurse their infants as well as those who are undecided on an infant feeding method. Support persons are encouraged to attend. Topics include the benefits of breastfeeding, latching on and positioning, breast care, returning to work and more.

Norton Suburban Hospital
6 to 8 p.m.
Aug. 12, 2014
Sept. 9, 2014
Oct. 8, 2014
Nov. 3, 2014
Nov. 25, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014

Norton Hospital
1 to 3 p.m.
Sept. 3, 2014
Nov. 12, 2014

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 1, 2014
Dec. 3, 2014

To register, call (502) 629-1234 or visit NortonBaby.com.

Breastfeeding: Beyond the Basics

Taught by a certified lactation consultant, this class provides more in-depth information for breastfeeding moms to help when they are away from their baby or returning to work. Topics include choosing a breast pump, proper pumping practices, workplace considerations and more. Ideal for moms-to-be and new moms.

Norton Suburban Hospital
6 to 8 p.m.
Aug. 28, 2014
Oct. 14, 2014
Dec. 3, 2014

To register, call (502) 629-1234 or visit NortonBaby.com.


Prenatal and newborn classes

Ready for the big day? Norton Women’s Care provides flexible class schedules for expectant parents to help prepare for all aspects of childbirth. Find classes that work for you. All prenatal classes are FREE! See the full list of prenatal and newborn classes.