You bet breastfeeding will make a difference, says James Sears, MD, a pediatrician at the Sears Family Pediatric Practice in San Clemente, Calif., and author of several books, including The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night's Rest for the Whole Family. It will also make a big difference in a mother's health.
For starters, he says, breast milk boosts immunity and helps protect your baby against certain diseases and infections, including ear infections, allergies, pneumonia, and wheezing. Breastfeeding may also prevent SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome.
For moms, breastfeeding may lower the risk of breast cancer, lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and build strong bones. It is also said to increase bonding and help shed those remaining pregnancy pounds, according to Sears.
But that's not to say it's easy or that it is for every new mom. There are some medical as well as personal reasons why a mother may not breastfeed, and infant formula is an acceptable alternative. Together with your partner, you can make the decision that is right for your family.