5 benefits of breastfeeding to consider

Mother breastfeeding her baby

You probably already know breastmilk is specially designed for babies. Babies are able to digest breastmilk easily, and breastmilk gives the baby optimal nutrition during those first months of life and beyond.

Breastfeeding itself has additional benefits for parents as well as babies. Janet Jones and Laurent Reyes, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants with Breastfeeding Success, shared five breastfeeding benefits you may not know about. If you are thinking about breastfeeding, they are worth considering.

1. Breastfeeding parents get more sleep at night

Your sleep cycles synchronize with the baby and the hormones released during breastfeeding help parents fall back to sleep sooner. Because of these factors, lactating parents get 40 minutes more sleep each night, on average, and triple the amount of slow-wave (deep) sleep.

2. Breastfeeding exposes your baby to a world full of flavor

Within hours of the breastfeeding parent eating foods like carrots, garlic, vanilla, and anise, breastfed babies taste those flavors in breastmilk. Repeated exposure to those healthy foods and flavors makes it more likely that the child will enjoy those same flavors when solid foods are introduced.

3. Breastmilk fights infection and prevents illness

Breastmilk contains living antibodies that change on a daily basis and are designed to fight bacteria and viruses. These antibodies teach your baby's immune system how to fight off infection.

4. Breastmilk is dynamic and changes as your baby grows

In the early days after delivery, breastmilk is called colostrum and is small in volume, high in protein, and made mostly of immuno-protective factors. Around day 5-7 colostrum becomes mature milk and has the optimal balance of nutrients for an infant. As your baby grows, starts solid foods, and has higher calorie needs, breastmilk changes again to maintain optimal nutrition.

5. Breastfeeding has maternal health benefits

Breastfeeding lowers your risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It can also help with post-delivery weight loss. The lactating body burns about 500 calories a day.

Lactation support for all families

Whether you choose to breastfeed, bottle-feed, or create your own combination of styles, what matters most is being empowered to make informed decisions.

ARC has teamed up with Breastfeeding Success (BFS) to provide lactation and infant feeding guidance. BFS lactation consultants offer collaborative, evidence-based care to all ARC families.

Breastfeeding Success is a team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). IBCLCs are certified by an internationally-recognized board examination to meet rigorous professional standards and demonstrate specialized skills in the clinical management of breastfeeding and human lactation.

It's covered

Lactation support is a covered benefit many parents don't realize they have. BFS services are in-network with all major insurers so ARC families can feel supported, informed, and empowered to make the best feeding choices for themselves and their babies.

In-clinic advice and counseling are also available at ARC Center Street in Kyle. Talk to your ARC Pediatrician or Ob/Gyn to refer you to the services you need.

For more information on all the services available to you, check out ARC Lactation Support.

Tags: Lactation Support, breastfeeding success, breastfeeding benefits