Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for infants, as it provides a close to perfect composition of vitamins, protein, and fat and is easier to digest than formula. Breastfeeding not only benefits mothers and their babies, it also benefits employers and the environment. Since breastfeed babies tend to be healthier, mothers who breastfeed miss less work to care for sick infants than mothers who feed their infants formula. Infants that are exclusively breastfeed for the first 6-months have lower incidents of ear infections and respiratory illnesses, since breast milk contains antibodies that helps infants in fighting off viruses. It also lowers the infant’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Breast feeding is also believed to lower the risk of diabetes and certain cancers later in life.
Breastfeeding also helps bonding and may lower risks of postpartum depression since breastfeeding mother’s usually get more sleep than mother’s that bottle feed. Breastfeeding promotes closeness and eye contact which is beneficially to both mother and child. Breastfeed infants are more likely to gain weight appropriately and are less likely to become overweight going into adulthood.
If you need support breastfeeding the La Leche League is a nonprofit organization that runs meetings across the country to help women breasted. The WIC Program also provides breastfeeding assistance to women who are below a certain income level. Your local hospital may also have breastfeeding classes for expectant or newer mothers.
Katarina is a breastfeeding mother of two young children. She has a BA in Child Development and is working on her Postpartum Doula Certification with Birth Arts International.
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