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Top 10 Benefits of Breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby’s life, and a combination of breastfeeding and food for 1-2 years thereafter. Here's why:

  1. Baby’s Health.  The health benefits to breastfed babies are seemingly endless. Some include:   Fewer episodes of illness; Reduced risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, allergies and asthma; lower rates of SIDS by over 30%; lower rates of cancer, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases and respiratory illness.                                                                                                                                
  2. Mom’s Health. The health benefits to women who breastfeed include: reduced risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancers; reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis; reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease; increased post-partum emotional health and weight loss; quicker and easier recovery from childbirth; breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its normal size several weeks earlier than if not breastfeeding; and reduced risk of stress levels and risk of postpartum depression.
  1. Bonding. Breastfeeding builds and strengthens intimacy, comfort, security, trust and affection between a mom and her baby. Skin-to-skin contact and eye contact strengthens the emotional connection between a mother and her baby.
  1. Love hormones. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released while breastfeeding. The release of the Oxytocin enhances a mother's feelings of trust, love and affection, and helps build emotional bonding between mothers and babies. Oxytocin also promotes relaxation and overall calming while nursing.
  1. Natural Pain Relief. Breast milk contains endorphins that suppress pain for babies. Breastfeeding also satisfies a baby’s emotional needs by providing comfort through suckling and skin-to-skin contact. Breastfeeding helps babies feel better when they are sick, in distress or scared.
  1. Economics. Mutual of Omaha has estimated that a breastfed child has 1/3 of the medical expenses compared to a formula-fed child. Families can save $1,200-$1,500 in expenditures on formula in the first year alone.
  1. Perfect food. Breast milk has all of the nutrients, calories and fluids your baby needs to be healthy. It is the perfect food for a baby’s digestive system. Formula does not have the same substances to protect your baby from many diseases and infections.
  1. Convenience. Breast milk is always available, is always the right temperature and doesn’t need preparation or refrigeration. There are no bottles to clean.
  1. Increased I.Q. Breastfed babies have shown to have better intelligence and greater academic achievement than non-breastfed babies.
  2. Go Green. Breastfeeding is good for the environment. It is a natural, renewable food that is a complete source of babies’ nutrition. Breastfeeding requires no packaging materials, no fuel, no transportation, no animals, feed or machinery. For every one million formula-fed babies, 150 million containers of formula are consumed, many of which end up in landfills.

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