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Diseases & Conditions

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby & for Mom

(Also Called 'The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby and for Mom')

Breastfed babies have:

Breast milk provides abundant and easily absorbed nutritional components, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties, and live antibodies from mother. Mother’s more mature immune system makes antibodies to the germs to which she and her baby have been exposed. These antibodies enter her milk to help protect her baby from illness. Immunoglobulin A coats the lining of the baby’s immature intestines helping, germs and allergens from leaking through. Breast milk also contains substances that naturally soothe infants.

Breastfed babies may become healthier children with:

  • Fewer instances of allergies, eczema, and asthma
  • Fewer childhood cancers, including leukemia and lymphomas
  • Lower risk of type I and II diabetes
  • Fewer instances of Crohn’s disease and colitis
  • Lower rates of respiratory illness
  • Fewer speech and orthodontic problems
  • Fewer cavities
  • Less likely to become obese later in childhood
  • Improved brain maturation

Teens and adults will find benefits for life:

Breastfeeding: Healthier for mom physically:

  • Promotes faster weight loss after birth, burning about 500 extra calories a day to build and maintain a milk supply
  • Stimulates the uterus to contract and return to normal size
  • Less postpartum bleeding
  • Fewer urinary tract infections
  • Less chance of anemia
  • Less risk of postpartum depression and more positive mood
  • Greater immunity to infection

Healthier emotionally:

  • Breastfeeding produces the naturally soothing hormones oxytocin and prolactin that promote stress reduction and positive feelings in the nursing mother
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem
  • Increased calmness. Breastfed babies cry less overall, and have fewer incidences of childhood illness. Breastfeeding can support the wellness of body, mind, and spirit for the whole family.
  • Breastfeeding makes travel easier. Breast milk is always clean and the right temperature.
  • Physical/emotional bonding between mother and child is increased. Breastfeeding promotes more skin-to-skin contact, more holding and stroking. Many feel that affectionate bonding during the first years of life help reduce social and behavioral problems in both children and adults.
  • Breastfeeding mothers learn to read their infant’s cues and babies learn to trust caregivers. This helps shape the infant’s early behavior.

Benefits for life: Breastfeeding may result in:

References:

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 3/10/2016…#15274