Benefits of breastfeeding
Maybe you’ve heard the saying “breast is best” and wondered what the big deal is about breastfeeding. Trust us, the advantages of breastfeeding are real.
Breastmilk contains all the nutrients your newborn needs and even adapts over time to the changing needs of your growing baby.
Not only is breastmilk the ideal food for infants but breastfeeding also has a number of emotional and health benefits for both mother and baby. Some of the health benefits of breastfeeding even last a lifetime! Since there are so many benefits of breastfeeding, the World Health Organization recommends that mothers nurse their babies exclusively for the first six months. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of all infants globally are breastfed according to that recommendation today.
Benefits of breastfeeding for baby
The benefits of breastfeeding for baby are significant and cannot be replicated by formula. Aside from nutrients, your breastmilk comes loaded with antioxidants, enzymes and live antibodies ready to protect your baby against illness. By nursing exclusively, you give your infant the best chance to thrive and survive, but any amount of breastmilk will be a boost to your baby’s health.
The benefits of breastfeeding for baby include:
- Protects against infections
- Protects against stomach problems like diarrhea, constipation and vomiting
- Protects against colds and respiratory disease like whooping cough, RSV and pneumonia
- Decreases the risk of ear infections
- Decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Decreases the risk of illness and premature death overall
- Decreases the risk of cavities
- Leads to better brain development
- Provides bonding time for mother and baby
Many of the advantages of breastfeeding carry on into childhood and even adulthood. For example, breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from asthma, eczema and allergies when they become older. They also have a lower risk of diabetes and obesity and have stronger immune systems overall.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mom
Your baby isn’t the only one reaping the benefits of breastfeeding. There are plenty of benefits of breastfeeding for mom as well, both immediately after birth and long-term.
The benefits of breastfeeding for mom include:
- Helps the uterus to contract after birth
- Reduces menstrual bleedings
- Provides birth control (although it’s not 100 percent effective)
- Helps with weight loss
- Lower risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
- Fewer sick days
Breastfeeding is also better for the environment, since it doesn’t require any energy to produce and generates no waste or pollution.