There are several benefits to breastfeeding, especially when a mother only breastfeeds and does not use baby formula. Breastfeeding can help mothers heal and recover from childbirth faster. 

Reduced Risk of Cancer

Moms who choose to breastfeed have a decreased risk of uterine, ovarian, and breast cancers, Type II diabetes, and osteoporosis. For every year a mother breastfeeds, she sees a 20-35% decreased risk of breast cancer.

Reduced Risk of Postpartum Depression

Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of postpartum depression due to the increased bonding and emotional connection with the baby. 


Breastfeeding Benefits for the Baby

For your baby, breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months decreases the risk of childhood obesity, as well as allergies and asthma later in life. Babies who are breastfed have a 50% lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), an 80% lower risk of ear infections, and a 34% lower risk of Type II diabetes. They have fewer dental cavities throughout their life, and they have a lower incidence of childhood leukemia.


How long should I breastfeed?

The World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months, then continued breastfeeding with other foods until one year of age or longer. The longer an infant is breastfed, the greater the protection from illnesses and long-term diseases.


How do I know if my baby is getting enough when I am nursing?

Mothers needs to trust their body and trust the baby. The best way to tell if a baby is getting enough food is to check the diapers. Ask these three questions:

  1. Is the baby having enough wet and dirty diapers? A baby will have about six to eight wet diapers a day, and about three yellow stool diapers. These amounts can vary with age and by baby. Mothers should talk to their pediatrician about any concerns.
  2. Is the baby growing? Make sure the baby’s pediatrician is using the World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts to monitor the baby’s growth. The WHO chart is for babies who are which are mainly breastfed, vs. the standard CDC growth charts, which are for formula-fed babies.
  3. Is the baby happy? Every baby will cry sometimes, but if the baby is crying a lot, then talk to the baby’s pediatrician.  




Should mothers stop nursing when they’re sick? What if they need to take a medication?

Mothers should not stop nursing when they are sick. In fact, sick mothers who nurse a baby help protect the baby and decrease the baby’s risk of getting sick. Many medications are safe when breastfeeding. Nursing mothers should check with a doctor or lactation consultant about the risks and benefits of any medications.

Should mothers change their diet because they are nursing?

When nursing, mothers should get about 500 extra calories per day and should continue to take a prenatal vitamin. Eating a variety of nutritious foods is the best practice, with a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and protein. Most mothers will find that what they eat does not affect their milk supply, but a few moms may see a decrease with certain foods (mint or sage, for example).

How can I get a breast pump?

Fidelis Care members can get either a manual or double electric single-user breast pump up to 60 days after their baby’s birth.

  • Manual pumps are for short-term, infrequent use. They do not maintain breast milk supply.
  • Double electric single-user pumps are for long-term use and maintain your breast milk supply while you are away from the baby.

Fidelis Care members can visit care for more information about breast pump coverage.


Where can I find breastfeeding and lactation support?

  • Baby Cafes: Free drop-in breastfeeding support with lactation professionals. Find nearby locations at
  • WIC: Most offices have breastfeeding peer counselors and lactation consultants available to help with basic breastfeeding concerns. Visit for more information.
  • The hospital you delivered at, or your baby’s pediatrician– most have a lactation department available to help with any questions or concerns you may be having
  • Fidelis Care’s BabyCare program is available to Fidelis Care members who are pregnant and has lactation consultants on staff. Visit or call 1-800-247-1411 ext. 16092 for more information.


Fidelis Care offers a special program called BabyCare to support the health of members during pregnancy. 

Breast Pumps

Fidelis Care members can get either a manual or double electric single-user breast pump up to 60 days after their baby’s birth.

Maternal Health

With regular checkups and a healthy lifestyle, women can work with their health care provider to prevent potential problems and have a healthy pregnancy.