A healthy start starts here.

12 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Baby

Breast milk is the best food for your baby’s first year of life. It’s rich in nutrients, it helps both mother and baby bond emotionally, it improves childhood survival rates, and it enhances a child’s overall health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by a combination of breastfeeding and the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) reports that exclusive breastfeeding potentially saves the lives of 20 percent of children under age 5. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 65.6 percent of infants born in Tennessee have breastfed; the national average is 75 percent. Give babies the best start by feeding them breast milk.

How Breast Milk Helps Your Baby

  1. It contains essential nutrients for a baby’s healthy growth and brain development.
  2. It is easier for a baby to digest than infant formula.
  3. It protects against:
    o Respiratory illnesses
    o Ear infections
    o Gastrointestinal diseases
    o Allergies, asthma, eczema and atopic dermatitis
    o Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
    o Obesity
    o Type 2 diabetes
    o Childhood leukemia
  4. It reduces a baby’s spit-up and leads to fewer bouts of diarrhea and constipation.
  5. It helps mom lose weight faster after childbirth.
  6. It releases hormones to help mom relax.
  7. It prevents excessive bleeding for mom.
  8. It is always the right temperature—never too hot and never too cold.
  9. It saves money on formula, bottles, utilities and medical bills.
  10. It helps mom and baby bond emotionally.
  11. It reduces sick days used by working mothers.
  12. It is good for the environment as it decreases trash and plastic waste.

Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline

Learning how to breastfeed takes time and patience. The Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline provides accurate, up-to-date information for common breastfeeding issues and questions from international board-certified lactation consultants and certified lactation consultants, such as:

  • Not making enough milk
  • Oversupply of milk
  • Baby refusing to nurse
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Engorgement
  • Medications and breastfeeding
  • Breast pumps
  • Working and breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding in public
  • Weaning

For help, contact the Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, (toll free) at 855-4BF-MOMS (855-423-6667).

Additional Resources:

The Tennessee Department of Health provides general information about breastfeeding and breastfeeding laws.

The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program provides breastfeeding and educational materials, counseling and breast pumps for nursing mothers. To learn more, call 800-DIAL-WIC (800-342-5942).

The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) celebrates World Breastfeeding Week with work-related breastfeeding empowerment tips for women from Aug. 1–7, 2015.

Learn more helpful tips about breastfeeding from kidcentral tn.