The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Most people agree that, under normal circumstances, breastfeeding is best for your baby. It provides the perfect nutrients and has many known benefits:
- A mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development. Many of the ingredients of breast milk are not found in cow's milk.
- Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula. The proportion of protein in mother's milk is lower than in cow's milk, making it more digestible. The protein that is present is more nutritious and digestible that the major protein component of cow's milk. The mother's fat is also more easily broken down . Infants also have an easier time absorbing the important micronutrients in breast milk than those in cow's milk.
- Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses and to help them in fighting off infection and disease. Breastfed babies are less subject to lower respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, ear infections and septicemia. Virtually no baby is allergic to breast milk, while certain substances in cow's milk can trigger allergic responses.
- Human milk straight from the breast is always sterile, never improperly prepared, contaminated or spoiled.
- Breastfeeding saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure and mix formula, and there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night.
- Breastfeeding also helps a mother bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
- Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds gained from pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size more quickly and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
- Breastfeeding may lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Nursed babies are healthier. The rates of constipation and diarrhea are lower in breast-fed children. Also, breastfeeding is less likely to cause overweight infants or obese children later in life.
- Breastfeeding is convenient for the mother. It requires no planning, packing or equipment. It is always available, and at just the right temperature.
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