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Why should I breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is normal and healthy for infants and moms. Breast milk has disease-fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs, illness and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of various health problems for babies, including:
  • Ear infections
  • Stomach viruses
  • Respiratory infections
  • Atopic dermatis
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis, a gastrointestinal disease in preterm infants
In moms, breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. Infant formula cannot match the exact chemical makeup of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease. For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula.

This answer is based on source information from The Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information.
Dawn Marcus
Neurology
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively during the first 6 months of a baby’s life, with additional nursing recommended for at least the baby’s first year of life.

Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for the baby:
  • Optimizes nutrition
  • Limits exposure to foreign proteins
  • Provides necessary hormones, growth factors, and immune
           complexes
  • Provides important fatty acids to facilitate good brain development
  • Reduces infant infections and mortality
  • Promotes maternal-baby bonding
Breastfeeding also benefits the nursing mother :
  • Assists with return to normal weight
  • Reduces risk for breast cancer
  • Reduces risk for ovarian cancer
  • Reduces risk for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cost-effective method of supplying baby’s nutrition
  • Improves maternal-baby bonding
  • Decreases migraine frequency and severity during the first
           post-partum month.

Breast milk is truly best for your baby and you.  While breastfeeding can admittedly seem demanding because of the significant time commitment required, the benefits are well documented and the experience is priceless.  Breast milk provides immunity against bacteria and viruses, which means less sick time for your little one.  It is easiest for your baby to digest, and uncommon for your baby to allergic to.  Breast milk is less expensive than formula which may mean more money for cute baby clothes or a college fund.  Breastfeeding requires no preparation time, just pull up your shirt and feed.  There are many fashionable nursing cover-ups available now, which allow mom’s to comfortably and inconspicuously feed their baby in public. 
Studies show that breast babies have fewer ear, respiratory tract, and diarrheal infections.  They are also at a lower risk for many childhood diseases such as asthma, diabetes and obesity.  And, breast feeding is not only good for baby.  It has many documented benefits for mom including a decreased future risk of cancer and diabetes as well as a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight.  Breastfeeding burns 300-500 calories a day, which is equivalent to a 3-mile run!  After all you’ve gone through you deserve this nice payback.
Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Breast milk provides complete nutrition for baby with helpful antibodies to fight disease and increased DHA than formula. Breastfeeding is beneficial for mom too by reducing risk of diabetes, ovarian and breast cancer, and post-partum depression. Breastfeeding does not require formula, which is expensive and does not have the increased DHA fatty acid that breast milk has. DHA is important for brain and neurological development. Incorporating foods high in DHA is important to increase amount present in breast milk such as fish, seafood, and eggs.

Breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for babies. It has been shown to be good for babies by building their immunity against illness and infections. If you can, give your baby only breast milk for at least the first six months. Breastfeeding also gives you lots of time to cuddle and bond with your baby. Note that while it is okay to nurse your baby in bed, when it’s time to go to sleep, place your baby in a separate, safe sleep area near your bed. You might also be interested to know studies show that offering your baby a pacifier beginning at one month, when your baby is nursing well, will not cause problems with breastfeeding.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.