The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Mother Breastfeeding her newbornCollege of DuPage Nursing Student Andrea D. Adam wrote for Healthy Lombard that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2020), when mothers decide not to breastfeed their infants, an estimated additional three billion dollars is added to annual U.S. medical healthcare costs. Breastfeeding may be challenging or intimidating for new mothers, and not all mothers are able to breastfeed, but the benefits far outweigh the costs of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding provides the infant with a boost in immune system function, decreases morbidity and mortality risk, and promotes optimal development. Overall, it is cost-efficient and creates a special bond between mother and infant.

Infant breast milk provides the baby with much-needed immune protection from illnesses. The newborn is at risk of getting serious illnesses because their immune system is not fully developed. Breast milk provides infants with necessary antibodies, boosting their immune system and providing them with protection for a longer period of time (CDC, 2020). With this added protection from breast milk, the infant will have a reduced risk of becoming seriously ill. Breast milk also decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma, and ear infections which are especially common in children. Another important benefit is that breastfed infants have a lower risk of childhood obesity and consequently, cardiovascular morbidities later in life (CDC, 2020). One of the goals for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on their Healthy People 2020 topics is to improve the health of women and children and ultimately, breast milk provides all the nutrients and vitamins that the infant needs for optimal development (ODPHP, n.d.). This means that everything the infant needs is in breast milk provided that the mother is healthy and follows prenatal nutritional counseling.

Breastfeeding also decreases the risk of disease in the mother. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower incidence of certain cancers such as, ovarian and breast cancer (CDC, 2020).  Breastfeeding is the first step in creating a wonderful bond between mother and baby. It is a time when the mother and the infant are really able to get to know each other. It is certainly worth strengthening the bond that begins at birth while at the same time, meeting the developmental needs of the infant; from optimal nutrition provided in breast milk to emotional bonding. Although it may be challenging at times, the extra time required in breastfeeding results in far more benefits, not to mention the added cost of inconsistently purchasing the formula; breastfeeding is free. It is a natural way to provide your baby with their necessary vitamins and nutrients necessary for growth and development without the added expense of purchasing formula.

Breastfeeding has many benefits for the infant and mother alike. Providing the infant with breast milk yields several benefits that will last throughout the entire life of mother and baby.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). About Breastfeeding. U.S Department of

Health and Human Services. [Date Accessed: February 5, 2021]. Available from:

https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/about-breastfeeding/index.html

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (n.d). Maternal, Infant, and Child

Health. Healthy People 2020. U.S Department of Health and Human services. URL:

https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/maternal-infant-and-child-  health.

 

 

 

 

 

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