Five benefits of breast milk
Eau Claire, Wis. – HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital recognizes National Breastfeeding Month in August, and the benefits of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization (WHO) says breastfeeding works almost like a newborn’s first vaccine, providing vital antibodies and an immunity boost through the mother’s milk.
“Breastfeeding, whether by the breast or pumping breast milk, is important to an infant as it provides protection against many illnesses, while also supporting bonding between the mother and baby,” said Teresa DeMoe, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital lactation consultant.
- Breast milk is liquid gold. Colostrum, often referred to as ‘liquid gold’, is the thick yellow breast milk that mothers make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect baby. Although baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, it matches the amount his or her stomach can hold.
- Breast milk changes as baby grows. Colostrum changes into what is called mature milk. By the third to fifth day after birth, this mature breast milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help a baby continue to grow. It is a thinner type of milk than colostrum, but it provides all the nutrients and antibodies a baby needs.
- 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 such as ear infections, asthma and gastrointestinal infections, among others.
- Breastfeeding is beneficial to mothers as well. Mothers who breastfeed tend to recover from childbirth faster and are at a lower risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer.
For mothers needing additional support to be successful in their breastfeeding journey, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital offers free educational classes including, a breastfeeding class for those considering breastfeeding and a breastfeeding support group where new moms will learn more about latching, pumping, infant feeding cues and more. For more information, call 715-717-4156 or visit HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital/Events.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers additional information about the benefits of breastfeeding.
About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states – Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.