Breastfeeding is the best food for your baby! It is your legal right to breastfeed anywhere you are allowed to be. Breastfeeding is so important because it helps keep your baby healthy. It supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions and protects against allergies, sickness, obesity, and diseases like diabetes and cancer. Breast milk also protects against things like ear infections and every mom knows just how painful those can be for your child. Breast milk is also easily digested by your baby which means less fussiness!
A really cool thing about your breast milk is it changes to meet your baby’s needs. The amount changes according to the time of day, nursing frequency, and age of the baby. All the guess work is done for you when you breastfeed.
Breast milk is like on demand television – it’s always ready! It is available whenever and wherever your baby is hungry and it’s always warm! You don’t have to worry about keeping bottles clean or dealing with the waste.
Breastfeeding is also great for you! Breastfeeding reduces the risk of diabetes and certain cancers.
It also helps many moms return to their pre-pregnancy weight. And of course, breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mommy and child.
Tips and Advice
- Breastfeed soon after birth and frequently (8-12 times in a 24 hour period).
- Hold your baby skin to skin.
- Keep your baby with you in the hospital.
- Do not give a pacifier or bottle until breastfeeding has become a routine.
- Unless medically contraindicated, only give your baby breast milk, especially in the first 30 days.
- If you are having trouble with breastfeeding be sure to speak to a peer counselor.
You’re not alone!
Each local agency in New York State has breastfeeding peer counselors and trained breastfeeding staff to help you from the very first thought! They’re available for you to text, call, or sit down with when you need it most.
Click here for additional Breastfeeding Support information from the USDA!
Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer
Breastfeeding can lower breast cancer risk, especially if a woman breastfeeds for longer than 1 year. There is less benefit for women who breastfeed for less than a year, which is more typical for women living in countries such as the United States. There are several reasons why breastfeeding protects breast health:
- making milk 24/7 limits breast cells’ ability to misbehave
- most women have fewer menstrual cycles when they’re breastfeeding (added to the 9 missed periods during pregnancy) resulting in lower estrogen levels
- many women tend to eat more nutritious foods and follow healthier lifestyles (limit smoking and alcohol use) while breastfeeding
Beyond breast health protection, breastfeeding provides important health benefits to the baby and helps the bonding process.
Steps you can take
The decision to breastfeed is very personal and depends on your unique situation.
If breastfeeding is an option for you, you may want to consider it. Besides possibly lowering your breast cancer risk, breastfeeding gives your child antibodies through the breast milk that can protect him/her from bacterial and viral infections. Still, these are highly individual decisions affected by many factors besides breast cancer risk and whether you are able to breast feed.
- Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total (combined duration of breastfeeding for all children) of 1 year were slightly less likely to get breast cancer.
- Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of 2 years got about twice the benefit of those who breastfed for a total of 1 year.
- Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of more than 2 years got the most benefit.
Breastfeeding can be a challenge after a breast cancer diagnosis. After a double mastectomy, sadly, breastfeeding is impossible. After lumpectomy and radiation, the treated breast usually produces little or no milk, but the other breast usually can make milk normally. The milk from one breast may be enough or you may have to supplement with formula. Some women may choose to use a breast milk donor. An experienced breastfeeding coach can help you figure out the best possible solution for your unique situation.
To learn more about the links between Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer, visit the Susan G. Komen website
What Made You Decide to Start Breastfeeding?
WICstrong of New York State sat down with one of our very own breastfeeding counselors to find out why she decided to start breastfeeding.
Why Is Breastfeeding Important?
New York State WICstrong share’s the importance of breastfeeding from one of their very own breastfeeding counselors.
What Are Some Barriers Breastfeeding Moms Face?
The WICstrong program of New York State sits down with one of their own breastfeeding counselors to talk about some barriers moms are facing when it comes to breastfeeding.
Learn how hand expression can be helpful to relieve pain and pressure.
Getting your newborn to latch can be a challenge. This video demonstrates how the breastcrawl uses your baby’s natural instincts to begin breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding in the African American Community
Chocolate Milk: The Documentary Series
CHOCOLATE MILK: THE DOCUMENTARY SERIES is a collection of over 40 testimonials recorded by filmmaker and public health advocate Elizabeth Bayne from mothers and health providers about their experiences or personal journeys with breastfeeding. Developed to increase normalcy around breastfeeding within the African American community, we want mothers to see breastfeeding and breast milk as normal and as more important and beneficial than artificial baby milk. Our primary audience includes black mothers who are considering breastfeeding and seeking moral support or inspiration. And our secondary audience includes partners, families and communities that influence a mother’s ability to sustain exclusive breastfeeding.Watch the Complete Series
World Breastfeeding Week
August 1 – 7 2021 is World Breast Feeding Week.
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals and organizations dedicated to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.
Annually, WABA coordinates and organizes the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) between August 1-7.
#WBW2021 will focus on how breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of all, and the imperative to protect breastfeeding worldwide.
The objectives of World Breastfeeding Week 2021 are to:
- INFORM people about the importance of protecting breastfeeding
- ANCHOR breastfeeding support as a vital public health responsibility
- ENGAGE with individuals and organizations for greater impact
- GALVANIZE action on protecting breastfeeding to improve public health
Learn more at WorldBreastfeedingWeek.org