Benefits of Breastfeeding

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding should continue for up to 2 years and beyond.

It is beyond discussion that breastfeeding is beneficial, not only for the baby, but also for his/her mother and for the family and society.

Various studies (recent and less recent) show that breast milk can’t be matched and that its benefits last a lifetime.

Talking about breastfeeding is not shaming women who made different choices about feeding their babies. Every woman is unique and every couple mother/baby is unique. But what is important is that choices are made in relation with evidence-based information.

Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother:

Breastfeeding is your opportunity to create a unique and powerful bonding experience with your baby. It also helps you getting more confident in your new role as a mother and boosts your self-esteem. Some other benefits are:

  • Lower risk of postpartum bleeding

  • Faster uterine involution (shrinking of the uterus)

  • Lower risk of:

                                   -Ovarian cancer

                                   -Premenopausal breast cancer

                                   -Hypertension

                                   -Hypercholesterolemia

                                   -Cardiovascular disease

                                   -Postmenopausal osteoporosis

  • and Earlier return to pre-­pregnancy weight

Breastfeeding benefits for baby:

Nothing makes a baby grow happy and secure as his mother’s arms. Breastfeeding is the best opportunity to nurture and nourish your little one. A breastfed baby has:

  • Lower risk and lower severity of infectious diseases (bacterial meningitis, diarrhea, respiratory infection, ear infection, urinary tract infection)

  • Reduced infant mortality

  • Lower risk of

                                   -Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

                                   -Type 1 and type 2 diabetes

                                  -Lymphoma and leukemia

                                  -Obesity and hypercholesterolemia

                                  -Asthma and other allergies

  • Enhanced brain development

  • Enhanced jaw development and teeth alignment

  • Analgesic effect (pain killer) : teething, injury, painful procedure, circumcision…

Also breastfeeding is convenient and ready to use. It is less expensive than formula and helps reduce health care costs. And last but not least it is environmentally friendly. Thank you mom and baby for helping preserve the earth.

Fatma SAFI for ATEP

References:

1- www.aap.org

2- www.cdc.gov

3- http://www.llli.org/

4- http://www.nursingmothers.org/

5- http://americanpregnancy.org/first-­‐year-­‐of-­‐life/breastfeeding-­‐overview/

6- http://www.who.int/en/

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