The advantages of breast feeding

The advantages of breast feeding

Breast milk is the ideal food for your baby, a complete food from nature containing all the nutrition baby needs for healthy growth and development. Breast feeding your baby is also an extremely economical, portable and practical way of feeding baby – no feeding equipment or sterilisers required!

For many women, breast feeding and the experience of nourishing their baby from their own bodies is also an important time for bonding with their baby.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding( feeding your baby only breast milk, not any other foods or liquids (including infant formula or water), except for medications or vitamin and mineral supplements) for about 6 months, and then continuing breastfeeding while introducing complementary foods(foods or drinks other than breast milk or infant formula (e.g., infant cereals, fruits, vegetables, water)) until your child is 12 months old or older. This provides your child with ideal nutrition and supports growth and development. You can read the full recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatricsexternal icon or the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans pdf icon[PDF-30.6MB]external icon.

Vitamins & Minerals

Breastfed babies need additional vitamin D and may need additional iron. Although breast milk is an excellent source of the nutrition your baby needs, he or she will need to get extra vitamin D (beginning at birth) and possibly iron from supplements. Learn more at Vitamins & Minerals.

Breast milk is an amazing substance, constantly changing to suit the nutritional requirements of your baby as he or she passes through the various phases of development. Breast fed babies enjoy better health, as antibodies in breast milk help to ward off colds, chest and ear infections, diarrhoea and other stomach upsets. Breast milk is easily digested and provides baby with the right balance of nutrition and fluid to avoid problems such as constipation. Feeding your baby breast milk also reduces the chances of baby developing an allergy.

Apart from being an economical and practical way of nourishing your baby, breast feeding can also bring certain health benefits to the mother. Breast feeding baby soon after birth helps the uterus to contract, thus reducing the risk of postpartum haemorrhage.

Breast feeding for at least six months also helps to protect against pre-menopausal breast cancer, as well as cervical cancer and osteoporosis. Many women find that breast feeding helps to drop those additional kilos gained during pregnancy – but remember that you need to take good care of your own nutritional needs during this busy and demanding time. Lastly, and by no means least, there is the joy that physical contact with your baby brings, which is good for both mother and baby!

Benefits to Baby

Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of:

Benefits to Mother

Mothers who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of:

  • Breast cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.

About Eleanor Harris

Hi, there. It's my blog about nutritional solutions. I post the most helpful content in this topic ❤️ I got master degree 4 years ago at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Now i work for Danone as Nutrition Executive

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