The Benefits Of Breastfeeding

You hear it so often that it almost sounds cliche, but it’s true: breast milk is best for babies. Numerous studies have been done that explain the benefits and advantages to breastfeeding, but expecting and new moms don’t have the time to sort through them when it’s time to decide if they want to breastfeed. Given that breastfeeding can be a challenge at times, it’s important to realize the benefits when deciding to breastfeed.

Besides nutrition, here are some of the benefits of breastfeeding:

Protection From Illness – Numerous studies have shown that stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis occur less often and are less severe in breastfed babies.

Protection From Allergies – Scientists think that some immune factors only found in breast milk help prevent allergic reactions by adding a layer of protection to the intestinal tract that helps ward off inflammation or other health problems.

Possible Boost Of Intelligence – Studies following breastfed babies suggest that children may benefit from better vocabulary and IQ scores thanks to breast milk. It’s thought that the fatty acids help developing brains.

Possible Protection From Obesity – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as a way to reduce the risk for obesity later in life for a variety of reasons, including that breastfed babies are better at eating until their hunger is satisfied, setting healthy eating patterns from birth.

Reduction Of Mom’s Stress – A healthy, happy mom is one of the most important steps to a healthy baby, and one of the things most often neglected when baby arrives. Nursing releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps relax mothers and can lower the risk of postpartum depression.

If you want to breastfeed so you and baby can reap these benefits, but are encountering difficulties, there is help! Contact MFHS if you live in eastern Pennsylvania to learn more about breastfeeding help through WIC, or locate your local La Leche League chapter to get assistance.