Breastfeeding: The Benefits for Mom and Baby

From an interview with
Dr. Meghan Jordan
McLeod Pediatric Associates of Florence

The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding alongside the introduction of complementary foods for at least 1 year or longer, if desired. McLeod Pediatrician Dr. Meghan Jordan explains the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby.

“Whether or not to breastfeed is one of the most important decisions that parents make for their newborn child. Considered the gold standard among medical professionals, breastfeeding offers numerous benefits to both mother and baby. 

Did you know that infants who are breastfed exclusively have a decreased risk of type one diabetes, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome? They’re also much less likely to develop infectious diseases, diarrhea and ear infections. 

Breastfeeding is a wonderful opportunity for mother and newborn to bond with each other. In addition to saving time and money, breastfeeding helps mom return to her pre-pregnancy weight more quickly. It also decreases her risk of breast and ovarian cancers.”

What are the economic benefits of breastfeeding?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are many financial benefits for breastfeeding moms and their families:

  • Families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200–$1,500 in expenditures on infant formula in the first year alone.
  • A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90% of U.S. families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.
  • For both employers and employees, better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children, and higher productivity.

The latest data from the National Immunization Study of 2021 show that of children born in 2018 show that nationally 83.9% of mothers breastfeed their babies, 56.7% of mothers breastfeed their infant at 6 months, and 35% of mothers breastfed their children at 12 months.

To learn more about breastfeeding, ask a pediatrician near you. You may also call the McLeod Resource Center at 843-777-2890.