Friday, October 21, 2011

Factoid Friday: 7 Good Reasons to Breastfeed Your Baby With Down Syndrome

It may be difficult to breastfeed your child with Down Syndrome in the beginning.  I had to train Wyatt to latch properly and then how to eat without either choking or exhausting himself.   I was asked many times by (mainly) well meaning friends why I would bother.  I would mumble in my sleep deprived haze about antibodies and future weight issues.  Today's Factoids, now that I am a little more coherent, are good reasons why you should breastfeed your baby with DS.

1)  Breastfeeding provides antibodies and protection from illness.  Children with Down Syndrome are susceptible to bowel and respiratory issues.  Breast milk provides antibodies to fight infection and is easier to digest than formula.

2)  Breastfeeding improves mouth and tongue co-ordination which will aid in speech and language development.

3)  Breastfeeding promotes increased brain growth due to DHA, a fatty acid that is not found in most formulas or cow's milk.  Breastfed children score higher on IQ tests than those raised on formula;  this brain stimulation is particularly important in learning disabilities such as Down Syndrome

4)  Breastfeeding provides the opportunity for extra sensory stimulation as there is more skin to skin contact.

5)  Breastfeeding fosters closeness.  It offers more time to cuddle and spend time and get to know a special needs baby better.  It also boosts the mother's self esteem by providing a way that she can do something meaningful for her child and their health.

6)  Breastfeeding enhances mothering skills.  The patience, encouragement, coaxing and teaching used to help the baby learn to breastfeed will be employed over their lifespan to help them reach their goals.

(Becky Flora, BSed, IBCLC, 2001)

Finally, Number 7 is on me...

7)  Breastfeeding reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes.  People with Down Syndrome are prone to Type 2 Diabetes for many reasons, including increased insulin resistance, reduced lean muscle mass, increased weight and fat storage. 

And, that's the facts, Jack.  Happy Friday.


  1. Thanks Jen for helping us to understand how those months of breast feeding have a life-long impact on Baby.

  2. These are great!

    I found your blog on the Mommy Bloggers Club and am glad I stopped by.


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