Breastfeeding = Love

The theme of February is love, but for us every month is about love because breastfeeding = love! You’re showing your baby love in all the ways you take care of her every need. Breastfeeding is one of the most powerful ways you can love your baby because it encompasses so much of what we want our children to understand about love. From health, nutrition and happiness, to comfort, affection and safety, breastfeeding provides all of these to your baby and more.

Breastfeeding is health: Your baby’s health is your top priority as she is growing and developing every day. Breast milk has seemingly countless health benefits ranging from lowered risk of diseases like cancer and diabetes, to a stronger immune system now and throughout your baby’s lifetime. Breastfeeding sets your baby up for the healthiest start in life and it continues for many years into the future.

Breastfeeding is nutrition: Breast milk is the very best nutrition on the planet for your baby. It contains hundreds of essential nutrients that will help your baby thrive. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 4-6 months and continuing to breastfeed until at least a year once solids are introduced. Breastfeeding kick-starts a healthy diet that you and your child can maintain throughout her life.

Breastfeeding = LoveBreastfeeding is happiness: Breastfeeding offers many emotional benefits for your baby. It promotes the perfect bond between mother and baby as you spend your days cuddling and nursing. You and your baby learn each other intimately and sync to each other’s rhythms through breastfeeding. You solidify the love of family, closeness, smiles and unconditional love when you breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is comfort: Breastfeeding feels so good to your baby, and hopefully to you as well. When babies are fussy, nursing is one of the best ways to pacify them. It’s not just about the milk, but about being close to mom and feeling the love flow between the two of you. Breastfed babies often sleep better too, because the comfort they receive during nursing soothes them to sleep.

Breastfeeding is affection: There are many ways to show love and affection but we can’t think of one that beats breastfeeding. It is the gift that keeps on giving for your baby’s entire lifetime. And it’s a pure act of love from a mother to a baby.

Breastfeeding is safety: When your baby is unsure of the world around her, she feels reassured by your loving touch. You are her first form of safety because she trusts that you will always be there for her. Breastfeeding is her way of feeling secure in this great big world.

We hope you have a magnificent Valentine’s Day as you remember all the ways breastfeeding = love!

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding for Health & Well-Being

Happy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone!  We are thrilled to celebrate this week every year, although our mission to promote breastfeeding is a year round goal.  As we dive into World Breastfeeding Week 2016, we will be exploring different aspects of the theme, Breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development.  Today we are talking about how breastfeeding supports the health and well-being of babies and mothers.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Babies

We could talk for days about the health and wellness benefits of breastfeeding for babies.  The short story is that breastfeeding meets the number one basic requirement for human infant survival – food.  But we all know that breastfeeding is so much more than your average meal.  It seems that every month new studies reveal even more incredible advantages of breastfeeding for the immediate and long-term health of children.  Breast milk is a powerful resource for sustained health because it contains hundreds of nutrients that babies need to thrive outside of the womb.  In fact, breast milk is the very best nutrition for babies on the planet and it evolves to meet the nutritional needs of your baby’s development.

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding for Health & Well-BeingOne of the most phenomenal ways that breast milk supports babies is through antibodies.  As babies have very weak and immature immune systems at birth, breast milk helps protect them from the many pathogens that could harm a newborn.  This is especially important for preemies.  When babies do get sick, breast milk adjusts to give them more antibodies, antioxidants and other essential nutrients to heal and recover.

Additionally, breastfeeding has been linked to improved physical health from infancy through adulthood.  Overall, people who were breastfed as babies are healthier during their entire lifetime.  Breastfed babies have reduced risk of certain types of cancers, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems, ear infections, allergies, obesity, tooth decay, SIDs, multiple sclerosis and a host of other bacterial and viral infections.  Breastfeeding supports every aspect of physical health, from helping to stabilize organ function and bone, teeth and muscle development, to relieving pain and metabolizing nutrients more efficiently in the body.

Emotionally, breastfeeding supports a baby’s innate need for love, touch and safety.  Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mothers and babies, which encourages feelings of security and helps uninhibit other areas of growth and development.  Breastfeeding requires closeness and skin-to-skin contact so babies are calmed and soothed by their mothers’ heartbeat, warmth and tender touch.  Babies who are breastfed also tend to sleep better, which lends itself to many benefits as well.

From a cognitive and behavioral standpoint, breastfeeding can be extremely advantageous.  Studies show breastfed babies perform better in school, have higher IQs and earn greater academic achievements, plus they have better speech development on the whole.  Social development is also stronger in babies who are breastfed, according to research data.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mothers

Babies aren’t the only ones who win when it comes to breastfeeding.  Mothers benefit greatly from breastfeeding too.  Because mothers who breastfeed have less menstrual cycles and therefore fewer “doses” of specific hormones in their system, they have a lower risk of certain types of cancer including breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.  Breastfeeding reduces the likelihood or severity of osteoporosis, anemia and postpartum hemorrhage in moms.  Plus, nursing mothers have an easier time bonding with their babies and adjusting to the new family member, and quicker recovery after childbirth as breastfeeding encourages uterine contractions that releases the extra blood stored during pregnancy.  Moms who breastfeed tend to have less postpartum depression because breastfeeding releases endorphins that help keep mothers in a happier state.

 

The seemingly endless health and well-being benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers are nothings short of extraordinary.  This sustainable resource, the almighty breast milk, has incredible powers to protect, heal and advance the health and wellness of mothers and babies.  As parents, this is a top priority for our families.  We hope World Breastfeeding Week helps shed more light on these and many other benefits of breastfeeding for sustainable development.

Breastfeeding for your Baby’s Healthy Gut

We often share the amazing benefits of breastfeeding on our blog.  For your baby, breast milk is the number one superfood on the planet and is designed to meet her exact nutritional requirements.

New research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that breastfeeding is especially healthy for your baby’s gut.  In discovering how babies use breast milk to improve gut bacteria, researchers have also uncovered how they may be able to replicate it with cow’s milk.

Every human being has trillions of microbes that live in the digestive tract.  According to the latest studies, this healthy bacteria influences much about our biological health including our immune system, metabolism, nutritional absorption and physiology.  The community of microbes in the digestive system is referred to as the gut microbiome and there’s a lot riding on this tiny population.

Breastfeeding for your Baby’s Healthy Gut

Babies have a non-existent gut microbiome until the moment they are born.  Bacteria passed from mother to baby during vaginal delivery is the first opportunity for babies to build this important network.  That’s why recent research acknowledges the benefits of exposing babies born via C-section to vaginal bacteria from their mothers.  The birthing process is a vital first step in protecting babies and beginning to establish their gut microbiome.

Beyond birth, the leading source of nourishing a baby’s gut microbiome is through breastfeeding.  Breast milk contains glycoproteins that introduce bacteria from the mother and her diet into the baby’s digestive system.  Glycoproteins are made up of protein and sugars known as oliosaccharides.  Specific bacterium are produced that help infants and young children develop enzymes that strengthen their bodies.  One crucial enzyme called EndoBI-1 was determined to come from the oliosaccaride sugars found in glycoproteins.

Identifying the source of EndoBI-1 from breast milk compounds is breakthrough on several levels.  First, it better informs medical professionals about how breastfeeding improves a baby’s overall health, starting with the gut microbiome.  And it proves that breast milk has evolved with the human species.  Pretty phenomenal!  But it also has greater implications for babies who cannot or are not breastfed.

Researchers now believe that non-breastfed babies can benefit from these findings as well.  If formula products incorporate oliosaccharides, they can break down cow’s milk in a similar way to a human mother’s milk.  This would give formula-fed babies some of the same advantages as breastfed babies when it comes to a healthy gut.

This latest study was conducted by a team led by Professor David A. Mills, PhD, the Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science.

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 5

breastfeeding 3__1458691269_162.206.228.38Today is our last installment of our series on the 100 benefits of breastfeeding.  We’re thrilled to share the extraordinary powers that breastfeeding and breast milk can bring to babies, mothers, families and the world.  We hope this list has amazed and inspired you to breastfeed and advocate for breastfeeding.  Above all, we hope you see these numerous benefits of breastfeeding as the gift that keeps giving, and perhaps the most loving act a mother could ever do for her child.

81 – Breastfed babies tend to have a higher IQ and greater cognition in childhood and adulthood.  This goes for both intelligence level and academic achievement.

82 – Studies show social development is more advanced in babies who are breastfed for at least one year.

83 – Breastfeeding promotes oral motor development.  Babies who are exclusively bottle-fed may develop tongue thrust problems that can lead to improper mouth posture and strength. Breastfed babies statistically have better speech development.

84 – Breast milk can be used as a healing ointment for the entire family. It has powerful antimicrobial agents that are excellent for treating a variety of skin wounds including bites, stings, burns, rashes, cuts and infections.

85 – Breast milk can be used to improve your baby’s clogged tear ducts by simply rubbing it into the infected area.  It is also a great way to treat conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and can be used as a contact lens solution.

86 – For ear infections, drop breast milk into the ear canal to help relieve pain and encourage quicker healing.

87 – When your baby has a cold or congestion, gently squirt breast milk into his nose to clear nasal passages.

88 – Breast milk can help your baby if he has a sore throat.  It can even be gargled by other family members with sore throats to kill off bacteria that are causing symptoms.

89 – Breast milk is a superb anti-inflammatory, which can help clear up baby acne, alleviate eczema and keep your baby’s skin soft and smooth.  Many adults also use it as a facial cleanser or moisturizer to keep skin looking younger and more vibrant.

90 – Breastfeeding a first child often makes it easier to breastfeed subsequent children.  If your younger children are born prematurely or tend to get sick more often, being a veteran breasttfeeder will really come in handy.

91 – Breastfeeding is better for the environment because it requires no packaging, shipping or traveling to purchase supplies.

92 – Breastfeeding uses less water because none is required to make or clean bottles.

93 – Breastfeeding promotes optimal child spacing because ovulation is delayed and conception is less likely during this time.

94 – Breastfeeding is an opportunity to bond with other new mothers who are also nursing their babies.

95 – Your baby will know you better if you breastfeed because he will smell the unique scent of your milk.

96 – Breast milk can be frozen and stored for up to 5 months.  Even after you’ve stopped breastfeeding, your baby or toddler can enjoy the benefits of breast milk straight up, with cereal or as a nutritional boost in foods you cook or bake.

97 – You can help another baby by donating your unneeded breast milk.  This extreme act of altruism gives other babies the same great start to life you offered your own baby.

98 – Breastfeeding is a natural part of bearing children and becoming a mother.  You’re joining a club of mothers that have been breastfeeding for millions of years.

99 – Breastfeeding just feels good – for you and for your baby!

100 – Breastfeeding is a badge of honor you can wear knowing that you gave your baby the very best nutrition and nourishment from the beginning of your lifelong relationship of love.

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 2

breastfeeding 1__1458690990_162.206.228.38Today we’re bringing you the second part of our week-long series on the benefits of breastfeeding.  We are focusing on many of the wonderful ways breastfeeding and breast milk benefit newborns as they acclimate to sustaining themselves outside the womb, as well as the vast emotional benefits that breastfeeding offers mothers and babies.

21 – Breastfeeding promotes the bond between mother and child.  Holding your baby close and sharing this one-of-a-kind experience helps secure a lifelong relationship.

22 – Babies’ heart rates sync with their mothers during breastfeeding.  This can help steady the baby’s heart beat into a healthy rhythm.

23 – Babies’ temperature regulates during breastfeeding due to the proximity to mom and the fluctuating temperature of breast milk to meet the needs of your baby.

24 – Premature babies are more likely to survive when they are breastfed.

25 – Breastfeeding is emotionally satisfying to both mothers and babies.

26 – Breastfeeding gives babies ample skin-to-skin contact with mom, which is essential for their physical, mental and emotional development.

27 – Breastfeeding comforts babies and helps calm them during fussy times.

28 – Breastfeeding can help your baby recover from sickness faster.  Breast milk changes to meet the needs of your baby and can provide extra nutrients, antioxidants and antibodies during times of illness to boost your baby’s immune responses.

29 – Breastfeeding helps mothers get to know their babies better.  Spending quality time together allows moms to recognize different cries, learn their baby’s likes and dislikes and soak in the preciousness of their little baby.

30 – Breastfeeding is an ideal part of a healthy bedtime routine.

31 – Breast milk contains natural bio-chemicals and neurotransmitters that promote drowsiness and can encourage healthy sleep habits.

32 – Newborns’ vision is weak at birth but the distance between themselves and their mothers while breastfeeding is their optimal view.

33 – Babies get to know their mothers better because they can stare at them during feedings.  This connection is invaluable for an infant.

34 – Babies have an innate need to suck.  Breastfeeding allows babies to suck without swallowing extra air.

35 – Mothers and babies get to spend more time together when breastfeeding.

36 – Breast milk is odorless and helps your baby smell fresh.

37 – Breast milk soothes the digestive tract for less tummy aches, gas, constipation and diarrhea.

38 – Breastfed babies’ poop has less of a displeasing odor.

39 – Breast milk spit-up is relatively easy to clean and usually does not leave stains on your clothes or your baby’s clothes.

40 – Mothers who breastfeed have a unique sense of pride over their baby’s incredible growth and development based on the amazing nutrition they have offered through breastfeeding.