Does Breastfeeding Make a Difference?

For babies?
Formula vs. Breast Milk

Many TV and magazine ads try to make us believe that formula is just as good as breast milk.

But did you know there are risks of formula feeding?

Compared to breastfed babies, formula fed babies are:

  • 10-15 times more likely to be hospitalized
  •  6-8 times more likely to get childhood cancers
  •  3-6 times more likely to get serious bowel diseases
  •  2-5 times more likely to get allergies and lung infections
  •  3-5 times more likely to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) 
  •  2-7 times more likely to get diabetes
  •  3-4 times more likely to get ear infections
  •  at higher risk for being overweight as teenagers and adults
  • And formula has been recalled by manufacturers for not having enough Vitamin C & for containing metal particles!

Premature Babies 

Breastfeeding is especially important if your baby is born early.
  • Your breast milk is like medicine for your premature baby
  • It helps to prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis – a serious bowel disease
  • It helps your baby fight germs and grow as strong and healthy as possible
For moms?
Mothers who do NOT breastfeed have a higher risk of:
  • Pre-menopausal breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Retained gestational weight gain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome

If you have gestational diabetes, plan to fully breastfeed for as long as possible.

  • This reduces your risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
Full Breastfeeding
Full breastfeeding makes the most difference! 

Health experts recommend that you fully breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months, and continue to breastfeed until at least a year. Why?

  • Your baby gets the nutrition he needs for his body, brain, and immune system to develop normally
  • Your baby gains the right amount of weight and learns to stop eating when he is full
  • It’s easier for you to get back to a normal weight. This is very important to do before you get pregnant again
  • You and your baby get the most protection from illnesses later in life, such as diabetes and heart disease

And… you and your baby receive the most foods from WIC, for up to one year!

You Can Do It!

Many women wonder if they can breastfeed. The answer is almost always “Yes!”

  • Most women can breastfeed no matter what size their breasts are
  • Most women can make plenty of milk by nursing frequently in the early days and weeks
  • Many mothers breastfeed even after they return to work or school. For more information click here.
  • Most women can eat their regular diet without any problems for their babies
  • WIC can show you ways to comfortably breastfeed in public without embarrassment

Each baby and each experience is different. You can be successful with help and support. 

Making Milk…

If Your Baby Is Born Early...

Plan to give your baby as much breast milk as you can.

  • Your breast milk is like medicine for your premature baby
  • Start hand expressing and pumping soon after the birth so that you can make lots of milk for your baby
  • This video shows how to do hand expression.
  • This video shows how to maximize your milk production while pumping.
Building Up Supply
What to expect the first week…
  • It may take several days for you to notice an increase in your milk production
  • In the meantime, keep your baby close to you, especially skin-to-skin, so you can recognize his feeding cues (sucking movements, turning head side to side, bringing fists to face)
  • Nurse whenever your baby shows signs of wanting to suck
  • If your baby is not waking up to nurse at least every 2-3 hours, contact WIC or your doctor for help
Once you have more milk… 
  • Continue to nurse whenever your baby shows feeding cues – at least 10 times in 24 hours
  • Keep track of your baby’s diaper output so you know that your baby is getting enough milk
  • Contact WIC whenever you have questions about your milk supply

This video shows a comfortable position for breastfeeding, especially in the early days when you are nursing frequently, and may feel very tired. Click here to watch another breastfeeding positioning video.


How do your breasts make milk? Watch this video.
How will my breasts know how much milk to make? Watch this video.
What’s the secret of a good latch? Watch this video.
Maintaining Your Supply
Nurse Often
  • Pay attention to your baby’s feeding cues so you know when she is hungry
  • Expect that sometimes your baby will want to nurse more often than usual – this may be due to a growth spurt, an illness, a change in routine, or some other reason
  • If you notice your milk supply dropping, call WIC for more tips
Things To Stay Away From 
  • Not breastfeeding often enough (skipping feedings, trying to space feedings further apart)
  • Taking the baby off the breast before she is finished (still swallowing, still trying to latch on)
  • Breastfeeding with your baby not on the breast properly
  • Giving the baby formula or water, unless medically necessary
Am I Making Enough Milk?
How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk
  • Your baby is waking up to breastfeed at least 10 times in 24 hours
  • Your breasts feel softer and your baby seems contented after a feeding
  • Your baby has at least 6 wet and several dirty diapers in 24 hours
  • Your baby gains 4-7 ounces each week (This is the most important sign!)
  • Record pees and poops on a diaper log.
When To Call A Doctor
  • Your baby is not interested in nursing (very sleepy and weak, doesn’t wake up every 2-3 hours)
  • Your baby has fewer than 6 wet diapers and 2 stools each day (for the first month)
  • Your baby cries and fusses all day and does not seem to feel well

Contact WIC if you have any questions about whether your baby is getting enough milk.

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