Deciding to breastfeed is a decision only you can make. It deserves careful thought.
Experts agree that breastfeeding your baby for any length of time, no matter how short it is, will provide rewards for both you and your baby. Breast milk is the natural food source for infants younger than 1 year.
Breastfeeding may take time and practice. However, with help from nurses, breastfeeding experts, your doctor, or support groups, you can enjoy the benefits and rewards of breastfeeding.
Moms who breastfeed a baby also have some benefits and rewards:
A unique bond between mother and child
Easier weight loss
Less likely to have menstrual periods as long as you breastfeed
Lower risk for breast cancer and certain ovarian cancers
Possible lower risk for osteoporosis
Lower risk of heart disease and obesity
Breastfeeding can save time and money, including:
Lower cost for feedings, up to $1,000 savings per year
No bottle cleaning
No formula preparation (breast milk is always available at the right temperature)
Reduced risk of breast cancer, some types of ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis
CAN I BREASTFEED MY BABY?
Some things can change your plans to breastfeed. How and what your baby eats may depend on your baby's health and your health. However, most babies, even preemies, can breastfeed if you get the help of a lactation consultant.
Some babies are unable to drink enough breast milk by breastfeeding, due to:
Birth defects of the mouth (cleft lip or cleft palate)
Payne PA, Tully MR. Breastfeeding promotion. In: Ratcliffe SD, Baxley EG, Cline MK, Sakornbut EL, eds. Family Medicine Obstetrics. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 4.
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine.