Many new mothers try breastfeeding their newborn children and recent statistics confirm this. Nationally in recent years, about 74 percent of infants were breastfed for some period of time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Comparatively, in 1999 about 68 percent of U.S. infants were ever breastfed, and in 1971 only 24 percent of American children were breastfed.
Breastfeeding is popular again in most medical communities largely because of the health benefits of it. Breast milk has disease-fighting antibodies that help protect newborn babies from bacteria, illness and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Try as they might, companies that make infant formula can’t manufacture human milk or capture these important components. Breastfeeding is also healthy for mothers, contributing to natural weight loss, and lower risk of developing breast cancer, postpartum depression and Type 2 diabetes.
Milk Can Make Kids Smarter
A study shows that exclusively breastfed children have higher intelligence than those who were fed infant formula. The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, examined more than 13,000 children. Children who were breast-fed exclusively for the first three months of life or longer scored nearly six points higher on IQ tests at 6 years old than those who weren’t breastfed exclusively.
However, breastfeeding doesn’t come easy for every mother and each baby is different. Some babies fall asleep during breastfeeding and others have problems latching on correctly. Common problems breastfeeding mothers experience include:
- Nipple soreness
- Inadequate supply
- Plugged milk ducts
- Mastitis (breast infection)
- Inverted nipples
- Thrush (a yeast infection)
- Breast engorgement
It’s important to know that Little Company of Mary offers resources to help you overcome common problems with breastfeeding. Go to www.lcmh.org/FBC to learn more.
*Sources: AMA-ASSN.org, CDC.gov, NIH.gov, WomensHealth.gov