Mission Maternity Center

Why Breastfeed?

Overwhelming scientific evidence proves that breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants, reaping great health benefits for families, the health care system and society. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

Benefits for Baby

  • Breast milk is perfect nutrition which continually changes to meet growth and development needs
  • Breast milk is easy to digest resulting in less colic and digestive problems
  • Antibodies in breast milk keep babies healthier resulting in fewer ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections
  • Breastfed infants have a decreased incidence of SIDS
  • Breastfed children are less likely to suffer from Type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, childhood obesity and childhood cancers
  • Breastfed children score higher on cognitive and IQ tests

Benefits for Mom

  • Helps mom recover and return to pre-pregnant weight more quickly
  • Lowers moms risk for postpartum depression
  • Decreases her risk for type 2 diabetes and for breast and ovarian cancers
  • Reduction in risk for cardiovascular and other related diseases
  • Breast milk is always ready to use, easy to transport and access
  • No formula to buy or bottles to prepare and clean
  • Economical: Breastfeeding costs about $300/year and formula feeding costs approximately $2,000 to $3,000/year

Benefits for Society

  • Breastfeeding saves on long-term health care costs
  • Breastfed infants require fewer doctor visits, prescriptions and hospitalizations
  • Breastfeeding mothers have fewer work absences and higher work productivity
  • Breastfeeding is kinder to the environment using no electrical energy in preparation and producing far less trash, waste and pollution than formula feeding

Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

  • Take a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class during your 7 th month of pregnancy. This class will teach and demonstrate basic breastfeeding skills prior to delivery.
  • Keep your new infant skin-to-skin or in close proximity to you 24 hours a day so you can observe and learn frequent, subtle feeding cues.
  • Feed baby on demand approximately 8 or more times in 24 hours. Do not limit nursing time and allow infant to feed from both breasts until satisfied.
  • Request help from nursing or lactation staff anytime problems or concerns arise.
  • Use the “Breastfeeding Log” provided by the hospital which, allows you to track feedings as well as your infants wet and dirty diapers. This will help you determine if baby is getting enough to eat.
  • Learn and practice several comfortable breastfeeding positions during your hospital stay. Positioning the baby correctly will help prevent many early problems such as sore nipples and engorgement.
  • Do not give formula bottles unless medically indicated. Your infants doctor or your nurse will discuss this with you should it become necessary.
  • Do not use pacifiers during the first few weeks while breastfeeding is becoming established. Pacifiers mask feeding cues and encourage non-nutritive sucking patterns resulting in sore nipples and poor milk transfer.
  • Learn how to manually express breast milk. Nursing or lactation staff will teach you this valuable skill prior to discharge from the hospital.
  • Know how to access help and support for breastfeeding after discharge.