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Breastfeeding and its Impact on Mom and Baby

8/19/2013

breastfeedingBreastfeeding is more than just a bonding experience between a mother and her baby, it provides benefits that last long after infancy for both mom and baby. Despite these benefits, fewer than 50 percent of moms are breastfeeding exclusively for the recommended first six months, a recommendation set by the American Academy of Pediatrics, says Mary Lovegreen, R.N., of the Noreen Stonor Drexel Birthing Center at Newport Hospital.

“As we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month it’s so important that we encourage moms to breastfeed their babies, especially for those first six months,” says Lovegreen, an internationally board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). “Research shows that breastfeeding benefits mom and baby in so many ways. This is something we take seriously, so much so, that we are recognized as ‘Baby Friendly’ by the World Health Organization and Unicef.”

Lovegreen adds that to earn this designation, Newport Hospital must remain committed to providing an optimal environment for the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding. “We work hard to foster an environment that encourages and supports new mothers,” she said.

Benefits for baby include:

  • Create natural antibodies needed to fight illness
  • Increase a child’s IQ as much as eight to 10 points
  • Decrease the number of ear infections by 60 percent
  • Minimize the occurrence and severity of pneumonia, croup and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Significantly decrease the occurrence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)
  • Make the incidence of diarrhea rare as a mother’s breast milk does not contain negative pathogens that can make your baby ill

Mom also benefits from breastfeeding. Those benefits include:

  • Help create a stronger bond between mom and her baby
  • Diminish the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer
  • Lessen the development of osteoporosis
  • Help lose some of the weight gained during pregnancy
  • Recover from childbirth more easily and quickly

Lovegreen points out that in addition to the benefits listed above, new research shows the long-lasting impact breastfeeding can have. Some examples include:

  • Reduce the chance of mothers developing type II diabetes in the future
  • Help to keep your baby slim and healthy as a child and adult
  • Childhood obesity and diabetes is on the rise. New research suggests that breastfeeding may help reduce the incidence of obesity, and in turn, diabetes. The reason for this is not yet known, but a theory is that when breastfeeding, the child decides when they are done eating, and this affects his or her eating habits in the future.

For more information about the Noreen Stonor Drexel Birthing Center at Newport Hospital and for more information about how Newport Hospital supports breastfeeding mothers, call 401-845-1110 or visit www.newporthospital.org/birthing-center.html.