Things to Consider During Pregnancy

Hold "Ctrl" and Press "F" to search for keywords on this page.

On This Page

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Benefits for Baby

  • Better brain development
  • Lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Fewer illnesses and hospitalizations
  • Less diarrhea and constipation
  • Less colic, gas, and spitting up
  • Fewer ear, respiratory, and urinary tract infections
  • Lower risk of allergies and asthma
  • Reduced risk of childhood and adult obesity
  • Reduced risk of some childhood cancers
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes later in life
  • Reduced risk of multiple sclerosis
  • Reduced risk of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Helps promote proper jaw, tooth, & speech development
  • Easier to transition to solids as breast milk offers a variety of tastes and flavors based on mother’s diet, reducing picky eating later in life.
  • Special time for mom and baby to bond

Benefits for Mom

  • Helps with weight loss through healthier eating
  • Lowers risk of diabetes
  • Lower risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer
  • Lowers rates of postpartum depression
  • Improves bone density
  • Creates an important bond between mom and baby
  • Saves money! You will miss fewer days of work and will spend less on medical bills because breastfed infants get sick less often!
  • Helps uterus return to normal size and reduced bleeding after birth
  • Saves time! Breastmilk is always ready to go. There’s no preparation, heating, or sterilizing. Breastmilk comes in just the right amounts and at the correct temperature. When you breastfeed you can feed your baby immediately. Always ready and accessible when busy moms are on the go.
  • If only breastfeeding and giving no formula, WIC moms will receive additional food benefits.

Breast Milk vs. Formula

Compared to breast milk, formula is missing many things babies need for brain development and good health! In many ways, breastfeeding is more convenient than using infant formula. Breastmilk is always ready to use. It is pre-mixed, pre-warmed, clean, safe for your baby…and it’s free!


  • Water
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Breast milk:

  • Water
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Enzymes
  • Growth factors
  • Anti-parasites
  • Anti-allergens
  • Anti-viruses
  • Hormones
  • Antibodies

Breast milk is the perfect form of nutrition for your baby!

Breast milk:

  • Contains more than 200 nutrients
  • Contains 10,000 living cells in every teaspoon
  • Is convenient – it’s always ready
  • Is clean and safe
  • Is never too hot or too cold

Can I Breastfeed? Facts About Milk Supply

Breast milk is all your baby needs for the first 6 months of life. No other liquids or foods are needed!

  • Breast size does not determine how much milk you will make.
  • The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body makes.
  • If you don’t think you have enough milk, nurse more often to build up supply.
  • Don’t skip or replace a feeding with a bottle, unless you can pump at the same time. Skipping feedings causes milk supply to go down and it is very hard to play catch-up. This is very important at night time, when you actually make the most milk.
  • Breasts are unique—it is common to make more milk on one side due to different storage capacities of each breast.
  • A mother does not have to drink milk to make milk.
  • Being worried or upset will not affect milk production, but stress may interfere with the “let down” of milk.
  • The first milk from your breast is called colostrum, and helps protect your baby from sickness. It is produced in very small amounts and may look yellow & thick or clear and watery. It is full of nutrients and disease-fighting antibodies. Colostrum provides all the nutrients that your baby needs.
  • Colostrum will transition to mature milk usually 2—6 days after birth. Mature milk will look thin and watery and have a yellowish or bluish color.
  • Your breasts may become engorged when your milk comes in. Tenderness is normal…pain is not! This swelling should go away around the second week.
  • Your milk production is not decreasing when the swelling goes away. Your body is adjusting to your baby’s feeding demands.
  • Nurse your baby on demand. You have enough milk to feed your baby again when baby is showing signs of hunger, even if you can’t see or feel it.
  • Your milk changes to meet all your baby’s needs even when ill and older.

How Do I Make Breast Milk?

The breast goes through 3 phases of milk production:

PHASE I – Before baby is born, the mom’s body is already hard at work preparing to make milk.

PHASE II – In the early days after birth, mom’s breasts hold increased milk volume thanks to important hormone changes.

PHASE III – Mom’s breasts continue to make milk based on the law of supply and demand.

Production of Milk

  • When the baby suckles, important nerve endings inside the breast send a message to the brain.
  • The brain then signals the release of prolactin, milk-producing hormones, for making milk and oxytocin for releasing milk.
  • When the milk is released, it is called a “Milk Ejection Reflex” or “Let Down.” This will happen each time you feed your baby.
  • Hormone receptors are built after delivery of baby, allowing milk producing hormones into the breast and aiding in milk production. Giving formula supplement during the early weeks will cause mom to not make as many receptors as she needs.

The baby helps by removing the milk! The more milk that is removed, the more milk mom makes!

How Long Should I Breastfeed?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.

So what does this mean? First off, exclusive breastfeeding means only breastfeeding and not giving any formula or other liquids to baby. It is important to only breastfeed until baby is 6 months old. At 6 months, continue to breastfeed while adding baby food and table foods and continue breastfeeding until baby is at least 12 months old. Keep breastfeeding as long you and baby want to. There is no point when breastfeeding is not good for you and baby! In fact, the longer you breastfeed, the stronger the health benefits!

WIC Breastfeeding Mission Statement

The South Dakota WIC Program advocates breastfeeding as the ideal method of infant feeding during the first twelve months of life or as long as mutually agreeable between mother and child unless medically contraindicated.

Breast milk is considered the optimum food for infants!

Did You Know?

Breast milk is all your baby needs for the first 6 months of life. No other liquids or foods are needed!

The benefits of breastfeeding are dose-related….the longer you breastfeed, the more you and your baby benefit!

How Can I Get Ready?

Women are made to breastfeed, but you may need to learn how!

Tips for Early Success

  • Prepare yourself for breastfeeding before you deliver. Talk to WIC, a peer counselor, your doctor, or a lactation consultant.
  • Breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery – ideally within the first hour.
  • During the first hour after birth, you should have uninterrupted skin to skin time with your baby.
  • Keep baby close so he or she can breastfeed frequently, 10-12 times every 24 hours. Frequent feedings are GOOD and the key to building a good milk supply.
  • Avoid bottle nipples and pacifiers – they can confuse the breastfed baby and make breastfeeding more difficult, and may cause confusion for parents trying to learn their baby’s feeding cues. If there is a pacifier in their mouth, it might be difficult to see what baby is trying to show you.
  • Only breastfeeding – and not offering any formula – builds your milk supply and helps both you and your baby learn how to breastfeed.
  • Watch the baby, not the clock! Follow baby’s cues for signs that he or she is ready to eat.

Read the Breastfeeding Mother’s Bill of Rights

This post was last updated on September 20th, 2020 at 1:18 PM

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.