Benefits for Babies, Moms, and Families
- Breastfeeding is normal and healthy for infants and moms.
- Breast milk has disease-fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs, illness, and even SIDS. Infant formula cannot match the exact chemical makeup of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease.
- Breast milk is different from infant formula. Colostrum, the thick yellow first breast milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth, will give your baby the best start at life.
It is known as "liquid gold." It is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby as he or she first enters the world. Although your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, it matches the amount his or her tiny stomach can hold. A newborn stomach is only the size of a large marble at first!
- Your milk changes over time to meet your baby's needs. Your breast milk that begins to be made by the third to fifth day after birth has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth. It will be a thinner type of milk, but just as full of all of the nutrients and antibodies for your baby.
- For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. It takes time for their stomachs to adjust to digesting the proteins in formula because they are made from cow's milk.
- Premature babies do better when breastfed compared to premature babies who are fed formula.
- When you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. Unlike human milk straight from the breast, infant formula has a chance of being contaminated.
- Breastfeeding makes your life easier. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!
- Breastfeeding can save you between $1,160 and $3,915 per year, depending on the brand of formula.
- A mother can satisfy her baby's hunger right away with breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby, helping them bond. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.
- Breastfeeding during an emergency can save lives.