The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Why breastfeeding may be the best option for mom and baby.

Benefits for Baby

Breast milk is nature's perfect baby food. It contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes that scientists have yet to replicate. Studies have proven that breast milk:

  • Protects against allergies and eczema. If there's a history of either in your family, it may be especially beneficial for you to breastfeed. Proteins in cow's milk and soy milk formulas can stimulate an allergic reaction, while the proteins in human breast milk are more easily digested.
  • Causes less stomach upset, diarrhea, and constipation than formula. This too is because breast milk is so easy for baby's body to break down.
  • Reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroenteritis, ear infections, and respiratory infections. For instance, formula-fed infants are three times more likely to suffer from ear infections than breastfed babies, and up to five times more likely to suffer from pneumonia and lower respiratory-tract infections.
  • Lessens the risk of SIDS. Although the connection is unclear, breastfed infants account for only half as many SIDS cases as formula-fed infants do.
  • Protects against diseases such as spinal meningitis, type 1 diabetes, and Hodgkin's lymphoma. You pass your baby immune factors and white blood cells through breast milk.
  • May make your baby smarter. Research is still inconclusive, but studies are pointing toward breastfed babies having higher IQ scores later in life, even when taking socioeconomic factors into consideration. The fatty acids in breast milk are thought to be the brain boosters.
  • Could help prevent obesity. Some studies show that breastfed infants are less likely to be obese later in life. The theory is that nursing mothers get in tune with signals that their baby is full, and don't overfeed.
  • Brings baby close too you. Bottlefed babies form bonds with their parents too, of course, but the skin-to-skin contact of breastfeeding is reassuring to a newborn.

Establishing a Breastfeeding Routine
Establishing a Breastfeeding Routine

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