Benefits of Breastfeeding
We’ve always known that breastfeeding is the best way to help your baby get a healthy start. Breastmilk provides new babies with the necessary nutrients they need to grow properly and provides protection against potentially harmful viruses. But in the face of this global pandemic, the benefits of breastfeeding have grown exponentially, not just for babies but for moms too.
Dr. Meredith Maxwell, Touro Family Medicine Physician, discusses the benefits of breastfeeding, and how the COVID-19 vaccine helps breastfeeding mothers, and their babies.
What are the benefits of Breastfeeding for Mothers?
For many women, breastfeeding is an amazing experience. It creates a strong bond between mother and baby. Women who breastfeed also get health benefits. Other benefits for you include:
- You can feel good knowing that your baby is growing healthy and strong because of your milk.
- Breastmilk is convenient. It's free, clean, and always at the right temperature.
- Breastfeeding burns calories. This can help you lose pregnancy weight faster.
- Breastfeeding releases hormones that contract the uterus. This helps the uterus return to its normal size after childbirth.
- Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk for ovarian and breast cancers.
- Some studies have found that breastfeeding may reduce a woman's risk for type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- Exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of the mother’s menstrual period. This can help extend the time between pregnancies.
What are the benefits of Breastfeeding for Babies?
- Breastfeeding gives contact that your baby loves. Spending time skin-to-skin with you is calming and comforting.
- Breastmilk lowers the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk for allergies, colds, and many other diseases. Formula-fed babies are more likely to have an allergy to cow's milk.
- Breastmilk changes as your baby grows. This meets your baby's changing needs.
- Breastfeeding plus solid food from 6 months to 1 year or more gives more benefits.
- Breastfed babies have fewer long-term health problems when they grow up. These problems include diabetes and obesity.
- Breastmilk is full of antibodies. These help your baby fight infection.
Should Mothers Be Concerned about Passing COVID-19 to their babies through Breastmilk?
There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be passed through breastmilk, in fact recent reports have shown that breastfeeding mothers who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which provides protection to babies. The COVID-19 vaccine has been recommended by the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for all individuals, especially pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. It is important for breastfeeding mothers to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine and provide protection to their babies.
For information about the Touro COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics, or to schedule your appointment call 504.290.5100