Benefits of Breastfeeding
Why Is Breastfeeding Best?: Compelling Reasons Why You Should Breastfeed Your Baby
Best for Baby:
- Research shows that breastfed infants have fewer and shorter episodes of illness.
- Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious way to encourage your baby’s optimal development.
- Colostrum (the first milk) is a gentle, natural laxative that helps clear baby’s intestine, decreasing the chance for jaundice to occur.
- The superior nutrition provided by breast milk benefits your baby’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ).
- Breastfeeding is a gentle way for newborns to transition to the world outside the womb.
- The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding offers babies greater emotional security and enhances bonding.
- The activity of sucking at the breast enhances development of baby’s oral muscles, facial bones, and aids in optimal dental development.
- Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension.
- Breastfeeding delays the onset of hereditary allergic disease, and lowers the risk of developing allergic disease.
- Breastfeeding helps the baby’s immune system mature, protecting the baby in the meantime from viral, bacteria, and parasitic infections.
- Breastfeeding increases the effectiveness of immunizations, increasing the protection against polio, tetanus, and diphtheria vaccines.
- Breastfeeding protects against developing chronic diseases such as: celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and childhood cancers.
- The benefits of breastfeeding appear to last even after the baby has been weaned.
Lack of Breastfeeding increases the Risk to the Infant of:
Ear Infections Childhood cancers
Gastrointestinal and diarrhea infections Allergies
Respiratory information Obesity
Childhood diabetes SIDS
Best for Mother:
- Research shows that breastfeeding benefits the health of mothers.
- Breast milk is always fresh, perfectly clean, just the right temperature, and is the healthy choice at the least cost!
- Increased levels of oxytocin stimulate postpartum uterine contractions, minimizing blood loss and encouraging rapid uterine toning.
- From 3 months to 12 months postpartum, breastfeeding increases the rate of weight loss in most nursing mothers.
- Breastfeeding offers some protection against the early return of fertility.
- Because breastfed babies are healthier, their mothers miss less work and spend less time and money on pediatric care.
- Breastfeeding women report psychological benefits such as increased self-confidence and a stronger sense of connection with their babies.
Lack of Breast-feeding Increases the Risk to the Infant of:
Urinary tract infections
Pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer
Content provided with permission from Medela, Inc.
"Study touts benefits of breast feeding: Researchers link the practice to higher child IQ"
The Boston Globe , May 6, 2008
For more information or to discuss lactation support concerns please contact Partners Employee Assistance Program at 1-866-724-4EAP.
In case of emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency service.
This content was last modified on: 08/21/2008