Breast milk provides optimal nutrition for babies. It has the right amount of nutrients, is easily digested and readily available. However, the rate of breastfeeding is as low as 30% in some groups of women. While some women are unable to breastfeed, others simply choose not to. Yet studies show breastfeeding has major health benefits, for both the mother and her baby. Here are 8 science-based benefits of breastfeeding both for the mother and baby.
1. Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for babies: breast milk contains everything your baby needs for the first six months of life, with the possible exception of vitamin D.
2. Breast milk contains important antibodies: breast milk is loaded with antibodies, especially immunoglobin A, which can help prevent or fight illness in your baby.
3. Breastfeeding may reduce disease risk: reduce your baby’s risk of infection and many diseases, including allergy, celiac disease and diabetes.
4. Breast milk promotes a healthy weight: breastfed babies have lower obesity rates than formula-fed babies. They also have more leptin and more beneficial gut bacteria.
5. Breastfeeding may make children smarter: breastfeeding may affect your baby’s brain development and reduce the risk of future behavior and learning problems.
6. Breastfeeding may help you lose weight: breastfeeding may make weight loss harder for the first 3 months after delivery. However, it may actually help with weight loss after the first 3 months.
7. Mothers who breastfeed have lower risk of depression: breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop postpartum depression. They have increased amounts of oxytocin in their system, which encourages caregiving, relaxation and bonding between mother and child.
8. Saves time and money: by breastfeeding, you don’t have to worry about buying or mixing formula, warming up bottles or calculating your baby’s daily needs.
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