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Breastfeeding Benefits

by in Breast Feeding, Kitchen Sink, Pediatrics, Pregnancy February 21, 2008

PhotobucketThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding (no formula or solid foods) and at least 1 year of breastfeeding.

BENEFITS FOR BABIES

  • Antibodies are passed from the mother to the baby through breast milk, which provides increased immunity. Breastfed babies have lower rates of the following conditions compared to formula-fed babies: allergies, ear infections, respiratory tract infections, colic, diarrhea, bacterial sepsis, atopic skin disorders, Crohn’s disease, meningitis, ulcerative colitis, vomiting and autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Breast milk can prevent asthma. Use of milk, other than breast milk, prior to 4 months of age is associated with increased asthma incidence through 6 years of age.
  • Breastfed babies have a better immune response to vaccinations than do formula-fed babies in general.
  • Babies who are breastfed statistically have IQ’s 6-10 points higher and have better vision than formula fed babies.
  • Breast milk nutrients change throughout the infant’s life to promote optimal brain and body development.
  • Breastfeeding decreases infant morbidity and hospitalisation rates 10 fold, as well as decreasing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Human milk is protective against childhood obesity. Obese children have a high risk of the following conditions as adults: obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, gout, etc.
  • Increased mother-baby bonding.

BENEFITS FOR MOTHERS

  • Nursing stimulates uterine contraction, which decreases postpartum bleeding.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
  • Breastfeeding builds bone strength reducing your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding “on-demand” is a 98% effective form of birth control during the first 6 months postpartum if there is no return of menses during that time. Check with your doctor for more information.
  • Breastfeeding delays the return of menses.
  • Mothers return to pre-pregnancy weight faster.
  • Increased mother-baby bonding.
  • Breast milk does not need to be prepared, is always available, costs nothing, and is environmentally friendly. (Formula costs between $1300-$3300 during the first year of life.)

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BREASTFEEDING

  • Certain drug use: check with a lactation consultant or your doctor if you are on prescription medications.
  • Rare hereditary metabolic disorders (i.e. galactosemia)
  • HIV/AIDS: unless living in a 3rd world country
  • Other serious maternal or infant illness-refer to lactation consultant

Resources
1. Arora et al. “Major factors influencing breastfeeding rates: mother’s perception of father’s attitude and milk supply” Ped Nov 2000; 106: e67.
2. Oddy, W. “Breastfeeding and Asthma in Children” Adv Exp Med Bio 2000: 393-394.
3. von Kries, R. et al. “Does Breast-feeding Protect Against Childhood Obesity?” Adv Exp Med Bio 2000: 29-39.
4. Walker, M. “A fresh look at the risks of artificial infant feeding” J Hum Lact 1993; 9(2): 97-107.
5. “Breastfeeding Fact Sheet 1”. Seattle and King County Public Health Department.
6. “Consequences of Artificial Feeding”. Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, Basic Course for Lactation Specialists.
7. “Is DHA the secret of breast milk’s success?” Townsend Letter. Nov 1999. 196: 53.
8. “A Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding”. American Academy of Pediatrics.

One Comment
  1. I agree with you..breastfeeding brings many advantages both baby and the mother. I would like to share my experience to all. When I was single, i had problem with my menstrual pain, I have to deal with it since the first menstrual time. But after I breastfeed my first baby those pain goes away and now i freely free from menstrual pain. thanks

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