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Why Breastfeed Your Baby?
Breastfeeding is a lifestyle– and a way of feeding your baby. Breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and mother. Many health experts recommend that your baby does not need anything but breastmilk for at least the first six months of life. Breastfeeding can continue until your baby is 12 months old and beyond.
Breastfeeding: Best for Baby – Best for You
For the baby and growing child, breast milk:
- provides the best possible infant food.
- contains all of the nutrients and energy your baby needs, and changes to meet your baby’s growing needs.
- is easy for baby to digest.
- promotes proper development of the jaw, teeth and facial structure.
- encourages a normal weight gain for baby which protects against future obesity.
- protects against chronic health problems such as allergies, sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and dental cavities.
- protects against infection because living substances in breastmilk prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses in baby’s digestive system.
- prevents babies from being sick and makes their illnesses less severe. Breastfed babies have fewer respiratory illnesses and less diarrhea and constipation.
- contains everything needed to help the development of baby’s brain.
- enhances attachment between mother and baby by providing lots of direct skin contact between mother and baby. You cannot spoil your baby, so this physical contact helps to build a secure, loving relationship.
For the mother, breastfeeding
- causes less postpartum bleeding and less chance of anemia.
- uses up extra calories, allowing most mothers to lose weight gradually without dieting.
- protects a mother from health problems such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, urinary tract infections, and osteoporosis.
- can continue when mothers return to work or school.
- saves a great deal of time, effort, and money. Breast milk is always safe, fresh, and exactly the right temperature. Breast milk is always with you, making breastfeeding convenient – especially in emergencies.
- produces naturally-soothing hormones which increase calmness, self-esteem, and confidence.
For the family and community, breastfeeding:
- reduces costs to families – breastfeeding is free and readily available. In comparison, breast-milk substitutes (formula) cost $2000 - $3000 per child per year.
- protects the environment as breastfeeding is free from unnecessary packaging and waste.
- improves the health and well-being of our community.
- decreases health care costs as breastfed babies have fewer physician and hospital visits.
- improves productivity and reduces time away from work for parents because their breastfed children are healthier.