When a new mother makes the decision to breastfeed, it sometimes draws strong opinions from friends and family. Breastfeeding is a personal decision, and you should do whatever is best for you and your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists highly recommend breastfeeding as it has benefits for both mom and baby.
The nutrients in breast milk has an ideal balance for infants. It has vitamins, protein, and fat in the perfect amounts. It is the most natural way to insure your baby gets what it needs to grow strong and healthy. Formula sometimes offers digestion problems for infants, but breast milk is very easy for infants to digest. Breast milk also has antibodies that boost your baby’s immune system and helps them to better fight off any viruses and bad bacteria. Because of the nutrients in breast milk, it can lower your baby’s risk of having allergies or asthma. Studies also show that babies who are breast-fed for their first 6 months of life, with no formula added at all, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and less chance for diarrhea. Babies who are breastfed also have less trips to the doctor other than for usual check-ups.
Studies have also been conducted on children who were breastfed as babies, and they tend to have higher IQs. The act of breastfeeding; the physical and eye contact, help you and your baby bond and instills a sense of security. Children who are breastfed are more likely to have a healthier body mass as they get older, as opposed to being overweight. The American Academy of Pediatrics also says that breastfeeding can prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.) Breastfeeding has also been linked to a lesser risk of diabetes, obesity, and even some cancers as the child gets older.
For the mom, breastfeeding also offers benefits. Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so you will lose your baby weight quicker. When you breastfeed, it releases a hormone called oxytocin, which can reduce bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding has been shown to lower your risk of breast or ovarian cancer, and maybe even osteoporosis.
Breastfeeding has monetary benefits as well. You would save money on formula (which you would need a lot of), bottles, and whatever else is needed for formula feeding. You would also save precious time from sterilizing nipples and warming up bottles, so you will have more time to spend bonding with your baby.