What Are The Benefits of Breastfeeding?
With the upcoming arrival of your new baby, there are many decisions to be
made. None more important than deciding which form of nutrition is best for you
and your baby. Numerous government and private industry associations today
recognize and promote the importance of exclusively providing breastmilk to
babies in the first twelve months of life. Following are compelling,
research-based facts about the importance of breastmilk that may help you to
make an informed choice:
Best for Baby:
The benefits of breastfeeding appear to last even after the baby has been
- Research shows that breastfed
infants have fewer and shorter episodes of illness.
- Breastfeeding is the most
natural and nutritious way to encourage your baby's optimal development.
- Colostrum (the first milk) is
a gentle, natural laxative that helps clear baby's intestine, decreasing
the chance for jaundice to occur.
- The superior nutrition
provided by breastmilk benefits your baby's IQ.
- Breastfeeding is a gentle way
for newborns to transition to the world outside the womb.
- The skin-to-skin contact
encouraged by breastfeeding offers babies greater emotional security and
- The activity of sucking at
the breast enhances development of baby's oral muscles, facial bones, and
aids in optimal dental development.
- Breastfeeding appears to
reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension.
- Breastfeeding delays the
onset of hereditary allergic disease, and lowers the risk of developing
- Breastfeeding helps the
baby's immune system mature, protecting the baby in the meantime from
viral, bacteria, and parasitic infections.
- Breastfeeding increases the
effectiveness of immunizations, increasing the protection against polio,
tetanus, and diphtheria vaccines.
- Breastfeeding protects
against developing chronic diseases such as: celiac disease, inflammatory
bowel disease, asthma, and childhood cancers.
Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Infant of:
- Ear infections
- Childhood diabetes
- Gastrointestinal and
- Childhood cancers
- Respiratory infections
- NEC (necrotizing
Best for Mother:
- Research shows that
breastfeeding benefits the health of mothers.
- Breastmilk is always fresh,
perfectly clean, just the right temperature, and is the healthy choice at
the least cost!
- Increased levels of oxytocin
stimulate postpartum uterine contractions, minimizing blood loss and
encouraging rapid uterine toning.
- From 3 months to 12 months
postpartum, breastfeeding increases the rate of weight loss in most
- Breastfeeding offers some
protection against the early return of fertility.
- Because breastfed babies are
healthier, their mothers miss less work and spend less time and money on
- Breastfeeding women report
psychological benefits such as increased self-confidence and a stronger
sense of connection with their babies.
Lack of Breastfeeding Increases the Risk to the Mother of:
- Urinary tract infection
- Pre-and post-menopausal
- Ovarian cancer