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Noyes Health / About Noyes / News / Article

Breastfeeding – Benefits for Child and Mom

Thursday, July 28, 2016

This August marks the first anniversary of the Healthy Baby Café at the Genesee Community College campus on Clara Barton Street in Dansville. To celebrate, the Healthy Baby Café will be hosting a drop-in open house on Thursday, August 11th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the GCC campus in Dansville.  There will be light refreshments and a chance to win a gift basket.  The celebration is open to anyone interested in breastfeeding including expectant moms, moms, and anyone who supports them.  

The café, open every Thursday from 1 pm – 3 pm, is a social place for anyone interested in knowing more about breastfeeding support and education.  The effort coordinated by the Livingston County Department of Health and Noyes Health is designed to help women breastfeed and understand the benefits to both mom and child. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy but with education and support, most women can be successful. Two certified lactation consultants, experts in breastfeeding, are present at the Baby Café each week to assist moms and answer their questions.  All of this is part of a New York State initiative to promote exclusive and sustained breastfeeding.

Organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continuing to breastfeed to twelve months as new foods are introduced.  Breastfeeding or feeding expressed human milk provides optimal growth.  It is the perfect mix of fat, sugar, water, and protein for brain and body development.  In addition, it is scientifically well-established that breastfeeding has several other health benefits.  The AAP and CDC support and promote breastfeeding as it protects against a variety of diseases and conditions.  Research suggests that breastfed babies are at lower risk of:

  • Bacteremia (bacteria in the blood)

  • Diarrhea

  • Respiratory tract infections

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (infection and inflammation of the bowel wall)

  • Otitis media (ear infection)

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Late onset sepsis in preterm infants

  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in later childhood

  • Lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkin’s disease

  • Childhood overweight and obesity

Bacteremia (bacteria in the blood)

Diarrhea

Respiratory tract infections

Necrotizing enterocolitis (infection and inflammation of the bowel wall)

Otitis media (ear infection)

Urinary tract infections

Late onset sepsis in preterm infants

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes in later childhood

Lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkin’s disease

Childhood overweight and obesity

Moms also benefit from breastfeeding.  Mothers often feel relaxed and fulfilled when breastfeeding due to the release of a hormone called oxytocin.  This hormone helps with milk production and uterine contractions (both during and after delivery.)  In addition, oxytocin is known as a social bonding hormone.  When it is released into the mom’s system during breastfeeding, she gets warm feelings of love for her child.  It basically aids the bonding process between mother and child.  While the emotional connection is fantastic, moms also benefit from breastfeeding physically. Health benefits for mom include:

  • Quicker and easier recovery after childbirth.  Oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, acts to return the uterus to its regular size more quickly and can reduce postpartum bleeding.

  • Research indicates that women who have breastfed experience reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.

  • Decreased menstrual blood loss and increased child spacing.  

  • Earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight.  

Quicker and easier recovery after childbirth.  Oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, acts to return the uterus to its regular size more quickly and can reduce postpartum bleeding.

Research indicates that women who have breastfed experience reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.

Decreased menstrual blood loss and increased child spacing.  

Earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight.  

Breastfeeding also provides economic benefits.  It is the most economical way to feed an infant.  Except for the cost of added nutritional food for the mother, the cost is $0.  Breast pumps are now provided by WIC and the Affordable Care Act requires health plans to provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. Insurance policies vary so a woman interested in a breast pump should call her insurance company for specifics.  Infant formulas range in price and also require bottles and sterilized water.  Depending on the chosen formula, costs can range anywhere from approximately, $1500 to $3000 per year.  The added health benefits also lower health care costs as much as $475 per infant during the first year of life.  

To learn more about breastfeeding, visit one of these sites:

New York State WIC at:  http://www.breastfeedingpartners.org/

American Academy of Pediatrics at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/default.aspx

Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/

Livingston County resources include: Noyes Health OB nurses, the Baby Café, and breastfeeding classes.  For more information, call either Noyes Health at 585-335-4249 or the Livingston County Department of Health at 585-243-7299.  

Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville.  If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327.  

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Noyes Health News

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