A Baby's Best Start

Nursing Center

Human milk is the preferred food for all human newborns.

- American Academy of Pediatrics






Choose/Buy Breastpump
Milk Intake for Baby
Articles of Interest
Mom Stories
Local Services - Austin
About a Baby's Best Start
Contact Us
Helpful Links


Benefits of Breastfeeding
Before Baby Arrives
Starting Out Right
Working without Weaning
Breastmilk Collection/Storage
Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?
Breastfeeding Stories
Need a Lactation Consultant?
Find a Lactation Consultant
All Articles
Benefits of Breastfeeding

Thanks to Medela, Inc. at www.medela.com.

Why Is Breastfeeding Best?
Compelling reasons you should breastfeed your baby

Best for Baby:

  • Research shows that breastfed infants have fewer and shorter episodes of illness.
  • Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious way to encourage your baby’s optimal development.
  • Colostrum (the first milk) is a gentle, natural laxative that helps clear baby’s intestine, decreasing the chance for jaundice to occur.
  • The superior nutrition provided by breastmilk benefits your baby’s IQ.
  • Breastfeeding is a gentle way for newborns to transition to the world outside the womb.
  • The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding offers babies greater emotional security and enhances bonding.
  • The activity of sucking at the breast enhances development of baby’s oral muscles, facial bones, and aids in optimal dental development.
  • Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension.
  • Breastfeeding delays the onset of hereditary allergic disease, and lowers the risk of developing allergic disease.
  • Breastfeeding helps the baby’s immune system mature, protecting the baby in the meantime from viral, bacteria, and parasitic infections.
  • Breastfeeding increases the effectiveness of immunizations, increasing the protection against polio, tetanus, and diptheria vaccines.
  • Breastfeeding protects against developing chronic diseases such as: celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and childhood cancers.
  • The benefits of breastfeeding appear to last even after the baby has been weaned.

Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Infant of:

• Ear infections                                          • Childhood diabetes     • Obesity

• Gastrointestinal and diarrheal infections     • Childhood cancers      • SIDS

• Respiratory infections                               • Allergies                  .

 Best for Mother:

  • Research shows that breastfeeding benefits the health of mothers.
  • Breastmilk is always fresh, perfectly clean, just the right temperature, and is the healthy choice at the least cost!
  • Increased levels of oxytocin stimulate postpartum uterine contractions, minimizing blood loss and encouraging rapid uterine toning.
  • From 3 months to 12 months postpartum, breastfeeding increases the rate of weight loss in most nursing mothers.
  • Breastfeeding offers some protection against the early return of fertility.
  • Because breastfed babies are healthier, their mothers miss less work and spend less time and money on pediatric care.
  • Breastfeeding women report psychological benefits such as increased self-confidence and a stronger sense of connection with their babies.

Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Mother of:

• Urinary tract infection                                   • Pre-and post-menopausal breast cancer

• Pre-and post-menopausal breast cancer        • Ovarian cancer

• Osteoporosis                                  .

Infant Health References:

Amin S, Merle K, Orlando M, Dalzell L, Guillet R: Brainstem Maturation in Premature Infants as a Function of Enteral Feeding Type, Pediatrics 2000; 106(2):318-322.

Beaudry M, Dufour R, Marcoux S: Relation between infant feeding and infections during the first six months of life. J Pediatrics 1995; 126:191-197.

Burr M, Limb E, Maguire M, et al: Infant feeding, wheezing, and allergy: a prospective study. Arch Dis Child 1993; 68:724-728.

Cushing A, Samet J, Lambert W, Skipper B, et al: Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Respiratory Illness in Infants, American J Epidemiology 1998; 147(9):863-70.

Davis M: Review of the evidence for an association between infant feeding and childhood cancer, International J Cancer (Suppl.) 1998; 11:29-33.

Dewey K, Heinig MJ, Nommsen-Rivers L: Differences in morbidity between breast-fed and formula-fed infants, J Pediatrics 1995; 126(5):696-702.

Duncan B, Ey J, Holberg C, Wright A, Martinez F, Taussig L: Exclusive breast-feeding for at least 4 months protects against otitis media, Pediatrics 1993; 91(5):867-872.

Ford R, Taylor B, Mitchell E: Breastfeeding and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Internat J Epidemiology 1993; Vol 22, pp 885-890.

Gerstein H: Cow’s milk exposure and type I diabetes mellitus, Diabetes Care 1994; 17(1):13-19.

Goldman A: The immune system of human milk: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties, Pediatric Infect Dis J 1993; 12(8):664-672.

Greco L, Auricchio S, Mayer M, Grimaldi M: Case control study on nutritional risk factors in celiac disease, J Pediatric Gastro & Nutr 1997; 7(3):395-399.

Hahn-Zoric M, Fulconis F, Minoli I, et al: Antibody responses to parenteral and oral vaccines are impaired by conventional and low protein formulas as compared to breast-feeding, Acta Paediatr Scand 1990; 79:1137-1142.

Hanson L: Non-breastfeeding – The Most Common Immunodeficiency, HK J Paediatrics 1998; 3:5-8.

Heinig MJ, Dewey K: Health advantages of breastfeeding for infants: a critical review, Nutrition Research Reviews 1996; 9:89-110.

Jacobson S, Chiodo L, Jacobson J: Breastfeeding effects on intelligence quotient in 4- and 11-year-old children, Pediatrics 1999; 103(5):71.

Koletzko S, Sherman P, Corey M et al: Role of infant feeding practices in development of Crohn’s disease in childhood, Brit Med J 1989; 298:1617-1618.

Kramer M: Do breast-feeding and delayed introduction of solid foods protect against subsequent obesity? J Pediatrics 1981; 98(6):883-887.

Kramer M, Chalmers B, Hodnett E, Zinaida S et al: Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT): A Randomized Trial in the Republic of Belarus, JAMA 2001; 285:413-420.

M Labbok, G Hendershot. Does breastfeeding protect against malocclusion? An analysis of the 1981 child health supplement to the national health interview survey. American J Preventative Medicine 1987; 3(4):227-232.

Lucas A, Cole T: Breast milk and neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis, Lancet 1990; 336:1519-1523.

Lucas A, Morley R, Cole T, et al: Breast milk and subsequent intelligence quotient in children born preterm, Lancet 1992; 339:261-264.

Perez-Bravo F, Garrasco E, Gutierrez-Lopez M et al: Genetic predisposition and environmental factors leading to the development of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in Chilean children. J Mol Med 1996; 74:105-109.

Popkin B, Adair L, Akin J, Black R, Briscoe J, Fleger W: Breast-feeding and diarrheal morbidity, Pediatrics 1990; 86(6):874-882.

Provisional Committee for Quality Improvement, Sub-Committee on Hyperbilirubinemia, American Academy of Pediatrics: Practice parameters: management of hyperbilirubinemia in the healthy term newborn, Pediatrics 1994; 94:558-561.

Saarinen U, Kajosaari M: Breastfeeding as prophylaxis against atopic disease: prospective follow-up study until 17 years old, Lancet 1995; 346:1065-1069.

Singhal A, Cole T, Lucas A: Early nutrition in preterm infants and later blood pressure cohorts after randomized trials, Lancet 2001; 357:413-19.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010: Conference Edition- Vols I and II. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. Health and Human Service, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Jan. 2000. pp. 2, 47-48.

Von Kries R, Koletzko B, Sauerwald T, et al: Breast feeding and obesity: cross sectional study. Brit Med Journal 1999; 319:147-150.

Maternal Health References:

Chua S, Arulkumaran S, Lin I, Selamat N, Ratnam S: Influence of breastfeeding and nipple stimulation on postpartum uterine activity, British J Obstet Gynecol 1994; 101:804-805.

Cohen R, Mrtek M, Mrtek R: Comparison of maternal absenteeism and infant illness rates among breast-feeding and formula-feeding women in two corporations, American J Health Promot 1995; 10(2):148-153.

Dewey K, Heinig MJ, Nommsen L: Maternal weight-loss patterns during prolonged lactation. American J Clin Nutrition 1993; 58:162-166.

Enger S, Ross R, Paganini-Hill A, Bernstein L: Breastfeeding experience and breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1998; 7(5):365-369.

Heinig MJ: Health effects of breast feeding for mothers: a critical review, Nutrition Research Reviews 1997; 10:35-56.

Kalkwarf HJ, Specker BL: Bone mineral loss during lactation and recovery after weaning, Obstet Gynecol 86:25, 1995

Kalkwarf HJ, Specker BL, Heubi JE et al: Intestinal calcium absorption of women during lactation and after weaning, Am J Clin Nutr 63:526, 1996

Kuzela A, Stifter C, Worobey J: Breastfeeding and mother-infant interactions, J Reproductive Psychol 1990; 8:185-194

Newcomb P, Storer B, Longnecker M, et al: Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer, N Engl J Med 1994; 330(2):81-87.

McNeilly A: Lactational amenorrhea, Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am 1993; 22(1): 59-73.

Pisacane A, Graziano L, Mazzarella G, Scarpellino B, Zona G: Breastfeeding and urinary tract infection, J Pediatrics 1992; 120(1):87-89.

Whittemore A, Harris R, Itnyre J, and the Collaborative Ovarian Cancer Group: Characteristics relating to ovarian cancer risk: collaborative analysis of 12 US case-control studies. II Invasive epithelial ovarian cancers in white women. American J Epidemiology 1992; 136(10):1184-1203.

Zheng T et al: Long-Term Breastfeeding Lowers Mother’s Breast Cancer Risk, American J Epidemiology 2001, 152:1129-1135

Back to Top