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Benefits of Breastfeeding

February 17, 2010

With the overwhelming evidence of breastfeeding benefits, it is clear that the choice of infant feeding method is a significant health decision with life-long consequences for you and your baby. In many ways, choosing not to breastfeed makes the two of you lose out on disease-protecting properties and increase their risks to illnesses and even cancers.

Consider the following benefits:

  • Increased resistance to infections
  • Earlier development of the infant immune system
  • Decreased risk of ear infections
  • Decreased risk of diarrhea
  • Decreased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Baby is less likely to be hospitalized due to serious illness
  • Less childhood obesity
  • Reduced risk of some chronic diseases that develop during childhood like juvenile diabetes, childhood cancers, allergic diseases, and asthma
  • Enhanced neurological development that result in higher IQs
  • Better eyesight
  • Good jaw development
  • Growth of straight, healthy teeth

For babies who do not receive breast milk, studies show that they have higher rates of pneumonia, childhood diabetes and cancers, SIDS, and gastroenteritis.

For breastfeeding moms, here are some of the immediate and long-term health benefits:

  • Quick return of uterus to normal size
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of fertility
  • Reduced insulin needs in diabetic mothers
  • Earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight
  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture

Breastfeeding also gives moms needed rest by requiring them to sit or lie down with their baby to feed.

Studies also have shown that breastfeeding increases self-confidence and provides a stronger sense of connection with the baby. Automatic skin-toskin contact and closeness afforded by breastfeeding result in improved bonding between mother and child.

The benefits of breastfeeding also extend to dads.

Fathers are able to enjoy a healthy baby and wife. They can appreciate the impact on the family budget with lower health care costs, fewer sick days, and lack of need to buy formula milk.

Giving children a healthy start on life is already a compelling reason to start and continue breastfeeding. With added benefits to the family, breastfeeding should always be more than just a feeding choice.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 24, 2010 7:22 pm

    Very informative. Thank you. I have been breastfeeding my 3rd child exclusively for 17 months and am still reaping the benefits.

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