Breastfeeding helps your baby's health, your well-being and is covered by most health insurance plans.
Maybe you're already sold on breastfeeding your baby. Maybe you haven't made your mind up. But breastfeeding your baby has health benefits for your baby and for you.
Good for baby
- It fights germs. Your breastmilk passes on enzymes, antibodies and white blood cells. These help your baby prevent and fight sickness.
- It helps baby breathe easier. Breastfeeding lowers the chance of ear infections and pneumonia. Researchers also think it reduces risk of allergies compared to formula.
- It gives baby a happy tummy. Human milk builds healthy intestinal bacteria. This helps reduce vomiting and diarrhea.
- It lowers disease risk. Breastfed babies are less likely to get blood, bone marrow and immune system cancers (specifically, leukemia and lymphoma). They are also less likely to get some kinds of spinal meningitis.
- It gives baby a better chance to stay trim. Breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight.
Good for you
- It feels good. Two hormones (prolactin and oxytocin) help you feel peaceful and feel close to your baby when you breastfeed. Breastfeeding also helps the uterus get back to its regular size more quickly. It can reduce bleeding after birth and delay the menstrual cycle. You're also less likely to have postpartum depression.
- It burns calories. You burn 400 to 500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding. Make sure to eat well, drink enough water and take your prenatal vitamins.
- It saves money. Breastmilk costs far less than formula.
- It lets you travel light. Being bottle-free means one less thing to put in the diaper bag.
- It's green. Think of the disposables and packaging you're saving from landfills.
- It helps you stay healthier. Studies link breastfeeding with lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer. It also reduces risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
Good for your wallet
Here's the good news about cost. Most health insurance plans cover breast pumps (except hospital grade ones) and breastfeeding supplies. They also pay for a breastfeeding expert to explain how to use the supplies and give you tips, instructions and advice.
These are called preventive care benefits. You get these benefits with your health insurance at no extra cost.
Insurance plans from 2010 or earlier, or plans through an employer may not cover these benefits. Contact us to find out what is covered under your insurance, and which doctors and providers are in your network.