Breastfeeding Education

Breastfeeding Education

Information provided by Medela | Breastfeeding Guidance

What Are The Benefits of Breastfeeding?

With the upcoming arrival of your new baby, there are many decisions to be made. None more important than deciding which form of nutrition is best for you and your baby. Numerous government and private industry associations today recognize and promote the importance of exclusively providing breastmilk to babies in the first twelve months of life. Following are compelling, research-based facts about the importance of breastmilk that may help you to make an informed choice:

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Best for Baby:

  • Research shows that breastfed infants have fewer and shorter episodes of illness.1,4,7,10
  • Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious way to encourage your baby’s optimal development.1,3,10, 21
  • Colostrum (the first milk) is a gentle, natural laxative that helps clear baby’s intestine, decreasing the chance for jaundice to occur.8
  • The superior nutrition provided by breast milk benefits your baby’s IQ.11,16
  • Breastfeeding is a gentle way for newborns to transition to the world outside the womb.14
  • The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding offers babies greater emotional security and enhances bonding.5,14
  • The activity of sucking at the breast enhances development of baby’s oral muscles, facial bones, and aids in optimal dental development.23
  • Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension later in life.22
  • Breastfeeding delays the onset of hereditary allergic disease, and lowers the risk of developing allergic disease.9,10
  • Breastfeeding helps the baby’s immune system mature, protecting the baby in the meantime from viral, bacteria, and parasitic infections.15
  • Breastfeeding increases the effectiveness of immunizations, increasing the protection against polio, tetanus, and diphtheria vaccines.1,7
  • Breastfeeding protects against developing chronic diseases such as: celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and childhood cancers.2,13,19
  • The benefits of breastfeeding appear to last even after the baby has been weaned.1,11

Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Infant of:

  • Ear infections, childhood diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal and diarrheal infections, urinary tract infection childhood cancers, SIDS, respiratory infections, allergies, NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis)1,6,9,10,16,17,20,22

Best for Mom:

  • Research shows that breastfeeding benefits the health of mothers.6, 9
  • Breast milk is always fresh, perfectly clean, just the right temperature, and is the healthy choice at the least cost!1,9
  • Increased levels of oxytocin stimulate postpartum uterine contractions, minimizing blood loss and encouraging rapid uterine toning.9,13
  • From 3 months to 12 months postpartum, breastfeeding increases the rate of weight loss in most nursing mothers.7,12
  • Breastfeeding offers some protection against the early return of fertility.10
  • Because breastfed babies are healthier, their mothers miss less work and spend less time and money on pediatric care.3
  • Breastfeeding women report psychological benefits such as increased self-confidence and a stronger sense of connection with their babies.9
  • Breastfeeding decreases risks of cardiovascular disease into postmenopausal age.5,11

Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Mother of:

  • Pre-and post-menopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, endometrial cancer2, 4, 8, 14, 15
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How to Prepare

As an expectant mom, there are a number of things you should consider gathering prior to baby's arrival. The list below is specific for baby and breastfeeding.  There are a number of items you should consider to prepare properly for the arrival of baby.  Speak with your Child Birth Educator for a complete list of items.

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In the Hospital

  • Baby’s going home outfit
  • A warm pair of booties/socks for baby
  • A warm blanket especially for cold weather
  • An infant car seat - stop by your local fire department for assistance with installing
  • A warm hat for baby
  • A quality breast pump in the event breastfeeding cannot be initiated for any reason
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For Breastfeeding At Home

  • Breastfeeding books and videos - a number of good quality books and videos are available to answer many of your questions right away.
  • The contact number of an IBCLC - a lactation consultant can really help during difficult times.  Don't hesitate to ask our lactation consultant
  • At least two nursing bras
  • A breastfeeding pillow to support baby while breastfeeding
  • A rocking chair or glider to make late nights a little easier
  • At least two dozen burping cloths - these come in handy for many cleanups
  • A high quality lanolin for ongoing nipple therapy
  • At least four washable bra pads or a good supply of disposable bra pads to keep lactating breasts dry
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For Pumping At Home

  • A quality breast pump - Visit our product selector to determine the best pump for you
  • Breastmilk Collection & Storage - Medela Pump & Save Bags
  • Breastmilk Collection & Storage Containers
  • A portable cooler carrier for transporting your breastmilk
  • Extra breast shields and breast pump accessory items (vehicle lighter adapter, membranes, valves, etc.)
  • Quick Clean products for easy and convenient cleaning