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Breastfeeding Benefits Babies and Moms

Breastfeeding Benefits Babies and Moms

During Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Valley Health celebrates new mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies.

Experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say breastfeeding has health benefits for both babies and mothers, and can also help protect against certain diseases and illnesses.

Five great benefits of breastfeeding, according to the CDC:

  • Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. As the baby grows, the mother’s breast milk will change to meet her baby’s nutritional needs. No matter how long a mother breastfeeds, even the smallest amount has benefits!
  • Breastfeeding can help protect babies against some short- and long-term illnesses and diseases. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed babies are also less likely to have ear infections and stomach bugs.
  • Breast milk shares antibodies from the mother with her baby. These antibodies help babies develop a strong immune system and protect them from illnesses.
  • Mothers can breastfeed anytime and anywhere. Mothers can feed their babies on the go without worrying about having to mix formula or prepare bottles. When traveling, breastfeeding can also provide a source of comfort for babies whose normal routine is disrupted.
  • Breastfeeding can reduce the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Breastfeeding has health benefits for the mother too! Some cancers, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure are less common among women who breastfed.

Winchester Medical Center Support

Jacqueline Stevens, RN, MSN, IBCLC, a lactation consultant at Winchester Medical Center, helps new moms and their babies succeed at breastfeeding. “It’s not as easy as putting a baby at the breast and expecting them to succeed,” she explains.

There are a variety of anatomical and developmental reasons why an infant may not initially take to breastfeeding, but Jacqueline enjoys the challenge of finding the right techniques to make it an enjoyable and nutritionally rewarding time of bonding between mother and baby. “Support makes all the difference in the world,” she says. “And we aren’t just teaching mom and baby, but also helping care partners and family see how they can support breastfeeding at home.”

Winchester Medical Center (WMC) has received a four-star rating from the Breastfeeding-Friendly Designation Program. The five-star program awards a star for every two steps achieved in the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Baby-Friendly USA. Our staff is dedicated to supporting you on your breastfeeding journey.

“It’s a way to make our global community healthier,” says Jacqueline.