Benefits of Breast-Feeding
Breast-feeding is a natural way to nourish your baby. It benefits both you and your baby. But it's your decision whether to breast-feed.
Benefits for the baby
Breast milk provides your baby with vitamins and minerals for optimal growth and development. It also has the needed proteins, fats, and other substances for growth.
Breast-feeding provides health benefits for your baby, such as:
- Reference Antibodies Opens New Window to strengthen your baby's Reference immune system Opens New Window.
- A lower risk for many types of infections, such as ear infections.
- Fewer gastrointestinal illnesses (vomiting and diarrhea).Reference 3
- A possible lower risk of food allergies.Reference 3
- A reduced risk for certain conditions, like Reference diabetes Opens New Window, Reference sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Opens New Window, Reference asthma Opens New Window, and Reference eczema Opens New Window.Reference 1, Reference 2
- A reduced risk for becoming obese later in infancy and during childhood.Reference 1, Reference 4
To compare, baby formula does not help protect a baby from infections and other health problems.
Benefits for the mother
Soon after your baby is born, breast-feeding helps your body recover from the stresses of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Breast-feeding also stimulates your body to release Reference oxytocin, which helps your uterus contract, bleed less, and return more quickly to its prepregnancy size.
You may find that Reference losing weight is easier with breast-feeding. But weight-loss rates after delivery vary among women.
Feeding your baby milk at the breast is convenient, because you have a food source that is ready at all times. You don't have to do anything to prepare.
It's your decision
Breast-feeding is a personal choice. How you feed your baby is your decision. Your thoughts and feelings about it are an important part of the decision.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 31, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology