Many new moms ask, “Is breast milk really better for my baby?” Michelle Carlson, RN, IBCLC, certified lactation consultant and breast milk expert, discusses this common question:
There’s a lot of confusing information out there, but the truth is, yes, breast milk is better for your baby. Why? Because breast milk not only contains all the nutrients your baby needs for growth and health, it also has hundreds of components specific to human milk that can’t be duplicated in formula.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby
Research shows that exclusive breastfeeding for six months—and that means no formula, juice or water—is the single most powerful and well-documented way to help keep your baby healthy. In fact, breastfeeding has been shown to reduce your baby’s risk of common illnesses, such as diarrhea, ear infections and respiratory tract infections. More important, breastfeeding is a key factor in reducing infant deaths. Exclusive breastfeeding for longer than six months reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 64 percent. Any breastfeeding for two to four months reduces the risk of SIDS by 40 percent.
But your baby isn’t the only one who benefits from breastfeeding. Moms who breastfeed exclusively for six months have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding education and support
I have worked with many women who wanted to breastfeed but have struggled for one reason or another. Although breastfeeding is a natural process, it doesn’t always come naturally to moms or babies. This can be frustrating for everyone, leading to feelings of inadequacy in the mom and poor nutrition for the baby.
At Lake Health’s TriPoint Medical Center in Concord Township and West Medical Center in Willoughby, we provide breastfeeding education to each mother during prenatal visits. We also offer a breastfeeding class. Our nurses receive training in breastfeeding management and education.
In the hospital, our lactation consultants visit, educate and help each new mother who wants to give her milk to her infant. We also provide support after discharge through a follow-up phone call, a breastfeeding helpline and weekly support groups for moms.
Our support services help you get breastfeeding off to a good start, help ensure you maintain an adequate milk supply and promote the longevity of breastfeeding, which supports lifelong health for your baby.
Find support today
For breastfeeding support services, learn more online or call:
Lake Health Lactation Center
8 am - 4:30 pm
Breastfeeding Helpline (24/7):