“Breastfeeding is a natural and beneficial source of nutrition and provides the healthiest start for an infant. In addition to the nutritional benefits, breastfeeding promotes a unique and emotional connection between mother and baby”, from Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Colostrum is Liquid Gold
- Colostrum (pronounced “coh-LOSS-trum”), also known as early breast milk, is the thick yellow milk that a mothers’ body creates during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies, which protect your infant as soon as they begin nursing. Your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding which matches the amount their tiny stomach can hold.
Breast Milk Changes
- Within three to five days after birth, colostrum changes into mature breast milk, which has the exact amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein your baby needs to grow and thrive. Thinner than colostrum, mature breast milk has all the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs.
- For most babies — especially premature babies — breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk, which is designed for calves, not human infants. It takes time for the infant stomach to adjust to the digesting of bovine milk proteins. In rare instances, babies are born unable to tolerate milk of any kind. These infants require soy formula. Formula may also be needed if the mother has certain health conditions and cannot breastfeed.
Breast Milk Protects Baby from Disease
- Breast milk contains special cells, hormones, and antibodies that protect babies from a wide variety of illnesses. The protective chemical makeup of human breast milk cannot be duplicated in formula. Diarrhea and other digestive troubles, as well as ear infections, are much more common among formula-fed infants. Breastfed babies have been proven to have lower risks of:
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that affects babies’ gastrointestinal tracts
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
- Lower respiratory tract infections
- Otitis media
- Colds, ear and throat infections
- GI tract infections
- Celiac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Some research shows that breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Childhood leukemia
- Atopic dermatitis (a type of skin rash)
- SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
- The rate of SIDS is reduced by a third in breastfed babies.
- Because formula feeding often causes babies to gain unnecessary weight, there is a 15 percent to 30 percent reduction in adolescent and adult obesity among people who were breastfed as infants, compared to non-breastfed infants.