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The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Benefits of breastfeeding

When it comes to feeding your baby, the oldest method is still the best. Breast milk provides the exact nutrients, calories and fluids a newborn needs. And as babies grow, breast milk changes to accommodate their changing nutrition needs.
Breastfeeding also contains substances that protect babies from many diseases and infections. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breastfed babies are less likely than those who get formula to have:
• Ear infections.
• Diarrhea.
• Pneumonia, wheezing and bronchiolitis, an infection of the small breathing tubes in the lungs that occurs most often infants.
• Asthma.
• Obesity.
• Type-2 diabetes.
Proteins in breast milk may also protect infants against E Coli and Salmonella infections. And breastfed babies are less likely to die of SIDS.
Research also shows that breastfeeding facilitates the transfer of beneficial bacteria from mother to child. All babies become colonized with bacteria soon after they are born, and beneficial germs are essential for health. They aid in digestion and many other processes, and lower the chances of infection with harmful bacteria.
For mothers, breastfeeding means no expensive formula to buy or bottles and nipples to sterilize. It also may lower women’s risks for breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type-2 diabetes. And the quiet, skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding is a time to bond for both mother and baby.
According to the AAP, babies should be fed exclusively breast milk for the first six months of their lives. Here are some resources for more information on breastfeeding: