Benefits of Breastfeeding
The benefits of breastfeeding are innumerable. Breastfeeding is important for baby's well-being, and also aids the mother in creating a healthy postpartum lifestyle. Below are some of the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and children.
Benefits for Baby
Breastmilk provides superior nutritional value to a child as it contains cells, hormones, and antibodies which help to boost a baby's immune system. Additionally, it is composed of a carefully curated cocktail of fat, sugar, water, and protein, guaranteeing proper nutrient balance, and enhancing a child's growth and development. A mother's milk is customized specifically to her child's needs, making it a more complete nutritional system available, especially for newborns.
Research suggests that breastfed babies have lower risks of a variety of diseases, including but not limited to asthma, childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, ear infections, eczema, diarrhea and vomiting (breastmilk is easier for babies to digest than formula), lower respiratory infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, sudden infant death syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Benefits for Mom
Breastfeeding helps a mother's health in significant ways post-pregnancy. It has been proven to lower a mother's risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
It can also help a mother to lose weight more quickly. Making breastmilk requires significant caloric intake, making it easier to lose weight gained during pregnancy.
In addition to physical benefits, breastfeeding also provides a number of psychological benefits. Breastfeeding saves time and money, eliminating expensive formula and its needed accessories (and the time required to prepare the formula).
Lastly, breastfeeding is directly correlated to bonding with one's baby. Babies feel a sense of security and comfort when breastfed, which extends to the mother as well.
Benefits for Society
While breastfeeding is an individual choice, it can benefit society as a whole. Breastfeeding has been proven to save lives, money, improve workforce productivity, and reduce environmental impact.
Adapted from: womenshealth.gov