Updated: Jun 2

According to research, breastfeeding carries many health benefits for infants and mothers. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of a number of diseases in both mothers and babies.

Benefits to Babies

  • Breastfed infants tend to have higher IQs due to good brain development early in life.

  • In the long term, breastfed babies have a decreased risk of malnutrition, obesity. The average breastfed baby doubles its birth weight in 5 to 6 months. By one year, a typical breastfed baby weighs about 2½ times its birth weight. At one year, breastfed babies tend to be leaner than formula-fed babies, which improves long-run health.

  • Breast milk contains several anti-infective factors such as bile salt stimulated lipase - protecting against amoebic infections - and lactoferrin - which binds to iron and inhibits the growth of intestinal bacteria.

  • Infants who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months are less likely to die of gastrointestinal infections than infants who switched from exclusive to partial breastfeeding at three to four months.

  • Maternal vaccinations while breastfeeding is safe for almost all vaccines. As a result, the mother's immunity obtained by vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and influenza can protect the baby from these diseases.

  • Breastfeeding can reduce fever rate after infant immunization.

  • Reduced mortality rate. Babies who are not breastfed are almost six times more likely to die by the age of one month than those who receive at least some breast milk. Breastfed babies are less likely to die before their third birthday.

  • Decreased risk of allergies. In children who are at risk for developing allergic diseases (defined as at least one parent or sibling having atopy), atopic syndrome can be prevented or delayed through 4-month exclusive breastfeeding, though these benefits may not persist.

  • Breastfeed your baby and you reduce his risk of developing chronic conditions, such as type I diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn's disease.

  • Breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by about half.

  • Research shows that breastfed babies have a better antibody response to vaccines than formula-fed babies.

  • Breastfeeding satisfies baby's emotional needs.

  • Women who were formula-fed as infants have higher rates of breast cancer as adults. For both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer, women who were breastfed as children, even if only for a short time, had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who were bottle-fed as infants.

  • Breast milk is always ready and comes in a nicer package than formula does.

  • Breast milk is more digestible than formula.

  • Breast milk lowers risk of baby developing asthma.

  • Formula feeding increases baby's risk of otitis media (ear infections. Otitis media is up to 3-4 times more prevalent in formula-fed infants.

  • Breastfeeding protects baby against bacterial meningitis.

  • Breastfeeding protects baby against respiratory infections.

  • Formula fed babies have a higher risk of developing certain childhood lymphomas.

  • Breastfeeding decreases chances of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Breastfeeding protects baby against vision defects.

  • Breastfed babies have great skin. This is not based on a formal study. Check out the skin of a breastfed baby and see what you think.

  • Perfect food for sick baby.

  • Breastfed babies get fewer cavities. Bottle-fed babies "are at increased risk for baby bottle caries, a destructive dental condition which occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing formula, milk, juice or other fluids high in carbohydrates.

  • Better speech development. Tongue thrust problems often develop among bottle-fed babies as they try to slow down the flow of milk coming from the artificial nipple. This can lead to speech problems, as well as "mouth breathing, lip biting, gum disease, and a generally unattractive appearance."

  • Breastfed babies smell fantastic. Again, this is not a scientific study. There is something almost magical about the scent of your own breastfed baby, whether you're the mother or father involved.

  • Breast milk protects against hemophilus b. Virus.

  • Breast milk acts like a natural tranquilizer for baby. Mother's milk contains chemicals that seem to work like "knock-out drops" for tired babies. Even if baby doesn't fall asleep, he/she will certainly calm down and become more agreeable.

  • Natural pain relief for baby. Breast milk actually contains chemicals that suppress pain (endorphins). Aside from this, the comfort a baby derives from being held close and suckling is remarkable. Many a bruise or scrape has been soothed away almost instantly by a few moments of nursing.

  • Breastfed babies are healthier over-all.

Benefits to Mothers

Breastfeeding aids maternal physical and emotional health.

  • Mothers who successfully breastfeed are less likely to develop postpartum depression.

  • Hormones released during breastfeeding help to strengthen the maternal bond. Support for a breastfeeding mother can strengthen familial bonds and help build a paternal bond.

  • Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive. Exclusive breastfeeding usually delays the return of fertility through lactational amenorrhea, although it does not provide reliable birth control. Breastfeeding may delay the return to fertility for some women by suppressing ovulation. Mothers may not ovulate, or have regular periods, during the entire lactation period. The non-ovulating period varies by individual. This has been used as natural contraception, with greater than 98% effectiveness during the first six months after birth if specific nursing behaviours are followed.

  • Breastfeeding releases beneficial hormones into the mother's body. Oxytocin and prolactin hormones relax the mother and increase her nurturing response. This hormone release can help to enable sleep. Breastfeeding soon after birth increases the mother's oxytocin levels, making her uterus contract more quickly and reducing bleeding.

  • For breastfeeding women, long-term health benefits include reduced risk of breast cancer.

  • Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing ovarian cancer.

  • Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing endometrial cancer.

  • A calorie incinerator. You may have heard that nursing burns up to 500 calories a day. And that's almost right. Breast milk contains 20 calories per ounce. If you feed your baby 20 ounces a day, that's 400 calories you've swept out of your body.

  • Better healing post-delivery. The oxytocin released when your baby nurses helps your uterus contract, reducing post-delivery blood loss. Plus, breastfeeding will help your uterus return to its normal size more quickly—at about six weeks postpartum, compared with 10 weeks if you don't breastfeed.

  • An unmatched feeling of empowerment. It's empowering as a new mother to see your baby grow and thrive on your breast milk alone.

  • Better friendships. Breastfeeding helps cultivate relationships with other moms. Whether it's talking about parenting styles, night-time feedings or engorgement, nursing allows women to forge positive postpartum relationships.

  • Breast milk is free.

  • There are fewer trips to the doctor and less money is spent on medications.

  • Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquilizer for mom. Nursing mothers often joke about falling asleep on the job. The sleep inducing qualities of nursing a baby are remarkable. In fact, new mothers have to be careful to hold a nursing baby in such a way that they will not drop the child when they inevitably nod off. Nursing in bed is a great solution. Even pumping at work can be a great way to calm down and get refocused on a stressful day.

  • Breastfeeding “Remodels” Mom’s Bones. New mothers who choose to breastfeed not only help their babies, they could also be building healthier bones for themselves.

  • Protects mothers against anaemia (iron deficiency). Since many exclusively breastfeeding mothers do not begin to menstruate for a year or longer their iron stores are not depleted by monthly bleeding.

Some Breastfeeding Myths

Perhaps more than any other aspect of caring for your baby, how you feed your baby seems to cause a great deal of discussion. Family and friends can have strong opinions, but some aren't based on fact.

Some common breastfeeding myths include:

Myth: Breastfeeding will make my breasts sag. Fact: Breastfeeding doesn't cause your breasts to sag, but pregnancy hormones can stretch the ligaments that support your breasts. Wear a well-fitting bra while you're pregnant.

Myth: People don't like to see women breastfeeding in public. Fact: Most people don't mind. The more it's seen the more normal it will become. The law protects women from being asked to leave a public space while breastfeeding.

Myth: Formula milk is basically the same as breast milk. Fact: Almost all formula milk is made from cow's milk. It can contain bacteria, which is why it's vital to make it up with water hot enough to kill any bacteria (70C). It doesn't protect your baby from infections and diseases like breast milk does.

Myth: Some women don't produce enough breast milk. Fact: Almost all women are physically able to breastfeed. Early, frequent feeding and responding to your baby's cues gives you the best start to establishing your supply.

Myth: If I breastfeed I can't have a sex life. Fact: There's no reason why breastfeeding should stop you having sex with your partner. Your breasts may leak a little milk while you're having sex, but you can try feeding your baby beforehand or wearing a bra with breast pads in. Your vagina may feel a little drier than usual because of your breastfeeding hormones. Using some lubricant and taking things slowly will help.

Myth: Breastfeeding hurts. Fact: Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby and it shouldn't hurt. If you experience pain in your breasts or nipples, it's usually because your baby isn't positioned or attached properly. Ask your midwife, health visitor or a breastfeeding specialist to help out on this.

Myth: My nipples are flat or even inverted, so I won't be able to breastfeed. Fact: Nipples come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Holding your baby skin-to-skin after birth will help them find the best way to attach themselves. Your baby breastfeeds, not nipple feeds, so as long as they can get a good mouthful of breast they should be able to feed perfectly happily.

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the mother and infant. ... Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines.

It's what breasts were designed for!


....making effort to "STAYWELL"


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