What does breastfeeding do for your body?
August is National Breastfeeding Month. Breastfeeding has many advantages for baby, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months followed by continuation for one year or longer as foods are introduced, but there are tremendous benefits for mother as well.
“Breastfeeding has amazing benefits for both mom and baby,” said Tammy Ashley, RN, MSN, CFNP, nurse practitioner and certified lactation consultant at McLaren Greater Lansing. “It not only helps with bonding, but it has both physical and emotional advantages.”
Breastfeeding can help boost the mother’s body for a faster post-partum recovery and even decrease post-partum depression. Breastfeeding also burns extra calories, so it can help those who breastfeed lose pregnancy weight faster. Long-term benefits for mothers include a lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
The benefits for infants who are breastfed not only extend to their growth and development; breastfed infants also have a lower risk of developing asthma, obesity, diabetes, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Breast milk contains optimal nutrition loaded with antibodies that help protect both baby and mom against certain infections and illnesses.
“When the mom is exposed to viruses or bacteria, their body starts producing antibodies that then go into the milk,” said Ashley. “These antibodies transfer to the baby and help boost their immune system and ability to fight off infections.”
While breastfeeding offers numerous benefits both short-term and long-term, it can also present challenges. McLaren Greater Lansing provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient lactation services to new moms and babies who require assistance. Most appointments are covered through insurance.
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About McLaren Greater Lansing
McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Orthopedic Hospital operate the region’s most distinguished cardiovascular and orthopedic surgery programs that—together with McLaren Greater Lansing’s oncology, women’s care and wide-ranging diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical services—consistently lead in clinical quality and efficiency. The hospitals are part of McLaren Health Care, mid-Michigan’s largest health care system. Visit mclaren.org/lansing.
About McLaren Health Care
McLaren Health Care, headquartered in Grand Blanc, Michigan, is a fully integrated health network committed to quality, evidence-based patient care and cost efficiency. The McLaren system includes 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, a 490-member employed primary and specialty care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 620,000 lives in Michigan and Indiana, home health and hospice providers, retail medical equipment showrooms, pharmacy services, and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. McLaren has 26,000 employees and more than 85,500 network providers. Its operations are housed in more than 350 facilities serving Michigan and Indiana.
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