Newborn babies need the right nutrition to grow up big and strong. Before they start eating solid foods, a baby’s main source of nutrients is from breast milk or formula. Breast milk contains natural, healthy enzymes that help babies grow. It is so unique that formula does not have the same immunity-boosting properties. While formula is a great alternative, breastfeeding has a wide range of benefits for both Mom and baby.
Supporting the Health of Mom and Baby
Breast milk is mild enough for a baby’s sensitive digestive system. The enzymes in breast milk help support the baby’s immune system and help them fight off illness. It also makes babies less gassy and constipated. Babies can develop healthy eating patterns when breastfeeding. It helps them better regulate their milk intake, so they eat until they feel satisfied.
For moms, breastfeeding is important too. It helps develop a strong bond between you and your baby. Producing breast milk is a natural part of pregnancy and this process helps get your body back to normal after pregnancy. It also reduces your risk for certain types of cancer.
Many new moms experience the “baby blues” or postpartum depression. Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby and nourishing them is empowering.
Formula is an acceptable option for mothers that cannot breastfeed or choose not to. However, formula can be expensive and the monthly cost to feed to your baby is around $140 to $300 per month. Breastfeeding cuts that cost in half and is a more nutritious alternative for baby.
Going back to those immunity-boosting properties, breast milk helps develop a strong immune system. That means, your baby is less likely to get sick, so you avoid spending time and money for extra doctor visits and medicines.
Long Term Benefits of Breastfeeding
Studies show that breastfeeding benefits the child late in life. Breastfed babies perform better on intelligence and behavior tests into adulthood than babies who are fed formula alone. In terms of behavior, breastfed babies have a better sense of wellbeing, security, and develop stronger relationships.
Physically, breastfeeding lowers the risk for your child to develop certain chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma. The long-term effects of breastfeeding speak for themselves.
CHPW supports new moms with getting the right supplies to care for their newborns. Talk with your provider about getting a free breast pump or baby bassinet box. Learn more about our prenatal program for expecting moms.