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- Why is Breastfeeding Best?

Last Updated: 6/28/2011

Motherís milk provides the optimum health and development for babies. It is uniquely designed to meet the complete nutritional needs of the growing baby. It protects him against illness throughout the entire first year and beyond, as long as he continues nursing. It changes in composition to meet his needs as he grows. Human milk contains proteins that promote brain development and specific immunities against human illness. Even with all that we DO know, we do NOT know even more. Every day scientists learn new things about breastmilk. Science may never be able to determine everything in breastmilk, nor be able to duplicate it. Look here for a comparative list of ingredients.

Motherís benefits:

 

  • Lower rates of ovarian cancer
  • Lower rates of premenopausal breast cancer, the risk of cancer decreases the longer a woman nurses, it is cumulative
  • Offers protection against osteoporosis
  • Lengthens the time before menstrual periods resume
  • Saves money
  • Smells better than formula, both going in and coming out (stools less offensive smelling
  • Is easier to clean/doesn't stain clothing and/or furniture
  • Is easier to transport
  • Is easier to prepare
  • Is enjoyable and rewarding (promotes oxytocin release)

 

Formula-fed babies:

 

  • Have greater risk for illness and hospitalization
  • More frequent and serious diarrheal infections and respiratory illnesses
  • Develop many more ear infections
  • Later speech and reading problems
  • Increases NEC in premature babies
  • Learning disorders and lower levels of intellectual functioning
  • UTIs and bacterial meningitis are more common
  • One factor implicated in SIDS
  • Higher incidence of colic, constipation, and allergic disorders
  • Receive less stroking, caressing, and rocking than the breastfed baby
  • Is talked to less often and spends more time in his crib away from parents
  • Exposes baby to toxic metals, harmful bacteria and other environmental toxins
  • High levels of aluminum have been identified in many formulas
  • Has risk of manufacturer errors which may result in serious consequences
  • Has risk of contamination from improper handling and storage of both the formula and equipment
  • Risk of improper mixing, resulting in serious consequences
  • Have more tooth decay and malocclusion
  • May have distortion of facial muscles
  • Have more obesity
  • Have more risk of diabetes both Type 1 early in life and Type 2 later in life
  • Have more childhood cancers
  • Increases time missed from work for parents
  • Increases environmental waste

 

Later in life people who were breastfed:

 

  • Have less obesity
  • Have less diabetes
  • Have lower cholesterol levels and less coronary artery disease
  • Have less chronic digestive disorders such as Crohnís Disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Lower rates of asthma as adults
  • Less chance of cancer of the lymph glands
Sources:

Nursing Motherís Companion, Kathleen Huggins, RN, MS
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, Jack Newman MD & Teresa Pitman
Early Lactation Guidebook, Donna Walls RN, IBCLC, Master Herbalist

 

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