National Breastfeeding Month: The Benefits of Breastfeeding

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National Breastfeeding Month begins on August 1st and organizations use this time to raise awareness and educate about the benefits of breastfeeding. The U.S Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) declared this year’s theme as Together we do great things.  

A mother breastfeeding her newborn baby

Benefits of Breastfeeding

According to the Cleveland Clinic, breastfeeding has many benefits for both mom and baby. A list of those benefits is below:

  • Stronger immune systems
  • Less diarrhea, constipation, reflex 
  • Fewer colds and respiratory illnesses
  • Fewer ear infections, especially those that damage hearing
  • Fewer cases of bacterial meningitis
  • Better vision and less retinopathy of prematurity 
  • Lower rates of infant mortality
  • Lower rates of SIDS 
  • Less illness overall and less hospitalization
  • Parents have up to six times less absenteeism from work

New Data 

While any amount of time that Mom can breastfeed Baby is beneficial, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ suggestion of 6 months to 1 year was the common goal. New data has shown that breastfeeding for up to 2 years has huge benefits. “Preliminary data reveal that human milk in the second year of life continues to be a significant source of macronutrients and immunologic factors for growing toddlers. Studies and meta-analyses also have confirmed the impact of breastfeeding longer than 12 months on maternal health, in decreasing maternal type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer rates.” – AAP 

My Journey 

I am a mom of 3 and have been blessed to successfully breastfeed all of them. All of my journeys have been different but all so rewarding. I breastfed my daughter (now 6 years old) for 7 months and honestly, it was so much harder than I imagined it would be. With my second child (now 4 years old), I breastfed for 10 months and fought through a mouth full of teeth but considered myself quite the pro! I am currently 9 months in with the 3rd and feel so conflicted as to when the right time to wean will be. I think many moms face this dilemma and my advice to you is to be kind to yourself. A fed baby is a happy baby! 

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