Breast milk is the most appropriate food for babies and is free. Formula feeding is expensive and carries real risks of increased infection, lowered IQ, childhood obesity, and allergies, among other things. Because we live in a culture that does not support breastfeeding, mothers and babies sometimes have trouble getting started. Below are some resources we hope you will find useful.

Maternity care practices can affect breastfeeding success, so it helps to understand how inductions, epidurals, episiotomies, and cesareans can sabotage attempts to breastfeed successfully. For a brief overview on this important topic, go to “A Brief Exploration of the Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding.". The full text from which this fact sheet was developed is listed below.

Professionals trained to help you establish and maintain a breastfeeding relationship with your baby are called “lactation consultants.” Ask your provider, call your local hospital or look in the professional organization listings on this site to locate a lactation consultant near you.

Benefits of Breastfeeding/Risks of Formula Feeding

Sources of Information & Support

Good Books on Breastfeeding

  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding Seventh Revised Edition  by La Leche League International (Plume, 2004). The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was the first book of its kind, written for mothers by mothers. Over the years, more than two million mothers have turned to it for information and inspiration.
  • Breastfeeding Cafe: Mothers Share the Joys, Challenges and Secrets of Nursing by Barbara Behrmann (University of Michigan Press, 2005).A collection of candid stories and anecdotes in which women from all over the U.S. discuss the joys and rewards, frustrations and challenges, sorrow and anger, pride and satisfaction, and humor and poignancy that characterize the nursing experience in our contemporary, bottle-feeding culture.
  • Impact of Birthing Practices on Breastfeeding: Protecting the Mother and Baby Continuumby Mary Kroeger and Linda Smith (Jones & Bartlett, 2004). Examines the spectacular bond between the human mother and her newborn from the perspective of labor, birth, and breastfeeding.  Addresses the failure of both western and developing country breastfeeding promoters and supporters to link the impact of certain childbirth interventions on the readiness of mother or newborn to breastfeed. Investigates the mechanics of labor, labor interventions, and how these affect the infant’s ability to suck, swallow and breathe.

Professional organizations for lactation consultants and local support organizations can help answer questions you may have about breastfeeding.