health care,
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health care,
education  and
social services

The 12 Benefits of Breastfeeding

August is upon us once more, and with it the celebration of National Breastfeeding Month. Mary's Center dietitian Nicole Latoni Gonzalez is a passionate advocate of breastfeeding and is always eager to tell people about the advantages of breastfeeding. Feel free to share her blogpost with moms who might find it useful!

As Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Mary's Center WIC program, I felt I could not let this month go by without highlighting the many benefits that breastfeeding provides.  Here are some well-known, and not so well known, benefits of breastfeeding:

1.         Breastfeeding can reduce the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

2.         Breastfeeding can also lower your infant’s risk of asthma and allergies.

3.         Breast milk contains antibodies that help keep babies healthy. A healthy baby means fewer trips to the doctor's office; fewer doctor's visits means less time off from work, and less time off from work means more money for you and your family.

4.         Breast milk is adaptable. As your infant grows and changes, so too does your milk.  It alters itself to keep up with your baby's needs.  It's pretty much custom-made for your child.

5.         Not only does breast milk change as you child grows, but it also changes when your child is sick.  Studies have found that a sick infant's saliva can trigger a mother's breast milk to tailor itself to help stave off their particular infections.

6.         In the long term, breastfeeding your baby can reduce their chances of developing diabetes and heart disease.

 

Breast feeding icon

   

The benefits don't stop there.  Did you know that mothers, and the family in general, can also benefit from breastfeeding?

7.         Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and diabetes.

8.        Breastfeeding may also promote weight loss in women. Some studies suggest that moms who breastfeed tend to return to their pre-pregnancy weight earlier then their non-breastfeeding counterparts.

9.        Post-partum depression, baby blues?  Research has shown that breastfeeding can help mitigate and decrease these conditions, making for a much happier mommy.

10.         Breastfeeding saves you money.  Formula tends to be expensive and can break the bank.  When you breastfeed, you don't have to worry about these costs.  Also, babies that are breastfed tend to be healthier, both in the short and long term, further helping to reduce health care costs.

11.         Breastfeeding is very convenient and can save you time.  Breast milk is always ready to use, meaning that you don't have to go out and buy, measure and mix formula, sanitize bottles, or warm formula-filled bottles. This allows you more time for yourself and your family.

12.         Even the environment benefits when mothers breastfeed.  By providing a renewable resource (in this case breast milk), breastfeeding can reduce the production of harmful waste that adversely affects our planet. Breast feeding is eco-friendly and sustainable and you are literally helping to protect the planet when you breastfeed!

Considering all the benefits breastfeeding provides, it's no wonder that Mary's Center goes above and beyond to encourage and support you when feeding your child.  Mary’s Center we strive to offer you a friendly environment where you can feel comfortable breastfeeding your baby. We whole heartedly encourage you to breastfeed at our clinics. If breastfeeding in public makes you uncomfortable, our WIC office at Georgia Avenue can provide you with a breastfeeding room to use. 

We also offer Beautiful Beginnings breastfeeding club meetings, open to all DC WIC participants, where pregnant woman, breastfeeding moms, and their families can get lessons on breastfeeding from a breastfeeding peer counselor. When you attend one of our classes, you can also chat with your peers about your own personal experience with breastfeeding. If you’d like to find out more, call us on (202) 232-6679 for Beautiful Beginnings meetings in Adams Morgan or (202) 545-8066 for meetings in Petworth.

Need a friendly and highly-qualified medical provider for you and your family? Look no further! Call 1-844-796-2797 or request an appointment online.

 

Nichole Latoni Gonzalez, Mary's Center dietitianAbout Nichole Latoni, RDN, LDN

Nichole Latoni Gonzalez joined the Mary’s Center team in March 2016 and specializes in nutrition and dietetics. She obtained a BS in Family Ecology and Nutrition Science from the University of Puerto Rico, and did her dietetic internship at the School of Health Professions at the same university. Ms. Latoni has worked as a dietitian on the surgery ward at University District Hospital in Puerto Rico. She has been interested in healthcare and helping people improve their lives since childhood. Her passion for nutrition began when she was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. She realized all the different ways nutrition could affect people's lives. Ms. Latoni was drawn to Mary’s Center when she saw the many programs the Center implements in the community and their impact. She enjoys reading, playing video games, hiking and traveling.

 

Photo attribution: Breastfeeding icon by Matt Daigle (Mothering.com) via Wikimedia Commons

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