There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both babies and mothers. That's why we encourage all moms to breastfeed for at least 12 months after delivery, and continue to support them throughout the process.
Specially-trained lactation nurses are available to help you learn how to breastfeed and to answer your questions. Free breastfeeding support is also available on Monday and Thursdays in the Family Conference Room on 4FB from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Caring Expressions Gift Shop at Forrest General Hospital offers hospital-grade breast pump rental. For more information on this service, call 601-288-3763.
Breastfeeding Benefits Your Baby
Early breast milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. This thick yellow milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth is called colostrum.
As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to provide everything your baby needs to grow. Colostrum changes into what is called mature milk. By the third to fifth day after birth, the mature milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein to help your baby continue to grow.
Colostrum: The thick yellow breast milk you make during pregnancy and right after birth.
Nutrients: Any food substance that provides energy or helps build tissue.
Antibodies: Blood proteins made in response to germs or other foreign substances that enter the body. Antibodies help fight illness by attaching to germs.
Breast milk is easier to digest. For most babies — especially premature babies — breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow's milk, and it takes time for babies' stomachs to adjust to digesting them.
Breast milk fights disease. The cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique because formula cannot match the chemical makeup of human breast milk. Babies who breastfeed are shown to experience fewer ear infections, urinary tract infections, allergies and illnesses requiring hospitalization.
Breastfeeding Benefits You
Breastfeeding offers a unique way for mothers to bond with their newborns. Physical contact is important to newborns and it helps them feel secure, warm and comforted. The skin-to-skin contact can boost the mothers oxytocin levels, which is a hormone that helps milk flow and calms the mother.
Breastfeeding makes life easier. When you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. You don't have to buy, measure or mix formula. And there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night. Breastfeeding may take more effort at first, but it makes life easier once you and your baby settle into a routine.
Breastfeeding saves money. Choosing to breastfeed could save your family over $1,500 a year in formula and feeding supplies costs. Breastfed babies have a reduced risk of illness, meaning your baby will likely need less doctors visits and you'll miss less time from work.