Breastfeeding Benefits and Resources
The American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledges breast milk as the best source of nutrition for newborn infants. It’s recommended that baby is breastfed for the first 6 months of life at a minimum. Thereafter, solid foods may gradually be introduced. However, it’s recommended breastfeeding continue until baby’s first birthday.
Babies who breastfeed have a lower risk of:
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Eczema (a skin disease)
- Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting)
- Infections (ear, respiratory)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for preterm infantsexternal icon
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Mothers who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of:
- Breast and ovarian cancers
- Diabetes (type 2)
- High blood pressure
Frequently Asked Breastfeeding Questions
Common questions about breastfeeding with answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office on Women’s Health, and the Gift of Life Foundation.
Why is breastfeeding a good nutritional choice?
Breastfeeding is good for both infants and mothers. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. As an infant grows, breast milk changes to meet the baby’s nutritional needs. Breastfed babies are less likely to get ear infections, die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and be obese in childhood. Breastfeeding moms lower their risk of developing hypertension, diabetes (type 2), and cancer and are more likely to lose weight gained during pregnancy.
How long should a baby be breastfed?
Any amount of breastfeeding is good for both baby and mother. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. For the following 6 months of life, continued breastfeeding is recommended along with the introduction of other foods.
Can a breastfeeding mother take medications?
Although many medications do pass into breast milk, most have little or no effect on milk supply or on infant well-being. Few medications are not recommended while breastfeeding.
Do breastfeeding moms still need birth control?
Yes. Breastfeeding is not a sure way to prevent pregnancy, even though it can delay the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. Ask a doctor or nurse about birth control choices that are okay to use while breastfeeding.
Is it safe for a breastfeeding mother to smoke, drink, or use drugs?
For those who smoke, the best thing they can do for themselves and their baby is to quit. If this or smoking less is not possible, it is still better to breastfeed and keep breastfeeding. Smoking away from your baby and changing clothes to keep your baby away from the chemicals that smoking leaves behind are good practices. An occasional drink is fine, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting two hours or more before nursing. Drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and PCP should not be used because they pose harmful consequences for infant development.
What legal rights do breastfeeding mothers have?
Federal and state laws protect and support breastfeeding in any public or private location. Breastfeeding is also protected at the workplace: federal law requires employers to support breastfeeding by providing mothers with reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom space to pump their breast milk for 1 year after a child’s birth.
What is a Human Milk Bank?
Human milk banks are a service established for the purpose of collecting milk from donors and processing, screening, storing, and distributing donated milk to meet the specific needs of individuals for whom human milk is prescribed by licensed health care providers. When possible, human milk banks also serve healthy infants who have been adopted or are not able to get their own mother’s milk.
What if a breastfeeding mother feels that she is not producing enough milk?
- She can follow these steps offered by the Office on Women’s Health and check with her healthcare provider or a lactation counselor if these don’t help:
Make sure the baby is latched on and positioned well.
- Breastfeed often and let your baby decide when to end the feeding.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding. Have your baby stay at the first breast as long as he or she is still sucking and swallowing. Offer the second breast when your baby slows down or stops.
- Avoid giving your baby formula or cereal in addition to breast milk, especially in the first 6 months of life. Your baby may lose interest in your breast milk, and your milk supply will decrease. If you need to supplement your baby’s feedings with more milk, try using a spoon, cup, or a dropper filled with pumped breast milk.
River Region Breastfeeding Resources & Support
Gift of Life Foundation
No cost, voluntary programs promoting successful pregnancy and development
1348 Carmichael Way, Montgomery, AL 36106
Baptist Medical Center East
Outpatient breastfeeding services, pump rental, and support group
400 Taylor Rd, Montgomery, AL 36117
Jackson Hospital Breastfeeding Classes- $15
Register by phone or email by 5th month of pregnancy
Email Liz Owen, RN, C-OB, IBCLC, CCE at firstname.lastname@example.org
1725 Pine St, Montgomery, AL 36106
Alabama Cooperative Extension
Free 6 week workshop on nutritional health for pregnant moms
Call Syreeta Clay at (334) 270-4133 ext. 32 or Jennifer Pinkard at (334) 270-4133 ext. 27
La Leche League (LLL)
Online and face-to-face support groups.
Montgomery area served by Alina or Denise. Email your name, phone number and message to: LLL.Montgomery.AL@gmail.com.
Auburn/Opelika area served by Josie at (334) 257-3950 and Marcie at (205) 746-5530 and email@example.com.
Free texts and app to support families through baby’s first year
text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411
WIC Services, Pumping Supplies, and Breastfeeding Counseling (Sign up when pregnant):
Gateway Family Health Center
2905 East South Blvd, Montgomery, 36116
Chisholm Family Health Center
100 East Vandiver Blvd., Montgomery, 36110
Montgomery County Health Department
3060 Mobile Hwy, Montgomery, 36108
Eastbrook Training Center
401 Coliseum Blvd # A, Montgomery, 36109
Macon County Health Department
812 Hospital Rd, Tuskegee, 36083
Lowndes County Health Department
507 E Tuskeena St, Hayneville, 36040