Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend 6 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding, and continued breastfeeding while adding in foods until 1-2 years of age or longer as mother and baby desire. Here are some benefits of breastfeeding your baby:
The first milk you produce, called colostrum, is often referred to as “liquid gold” due to its deep yellow color and abundance of nutrients. Your breasts begin producing colostrum during pregnancy so you can be ready to feed as soon as your baby is delivered. Colostrum provides all of the essential nutrients, along with antibodies, that your baby's body and digestive system needs to grow and function.
Between the third and fifth day after birth, colostrum transitions into mature milk. This mature milk is just the right combination of water, fat, protein, and carbohydrates that your baby needs to continue growing. This milk may look thinner than colostrum, but it is still packed with vital nutrients and antibodies your baby needs for healthy growth.
Breast milk is uniquely made for your baby's growing tummy. A benefit of breast milk is that it is easier to digest than formula and therefore lowers the risk of constipation and colic.
Breast milk is made up of important antibodies, hormones, cells, and nutrients that can protect your baby from illness. This protection is unique and can change to meet your baby's unique needs. Scientific research suggests that breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is good for mother's health too: Scientific research finks breastfeeding to a lower risk of developing certain types of breast uterine, and ovarian cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and Type 2 diabetes.
The skin-to-skin contact experienced during breastfeeding boosts the bonding hormone oxytocin, which is also responsible for expressing milk from the breast. Thus, the physical contact between you and your baby during breastfeeding helps you feel calm and connected, and your baby feels warm, secure, and comforted.
Breast milk is always available, the perfect temperature, and FREE! Breastfed babies may also get sick less often, which can prevent missed workdays and lower healthcare costs.
Breastfeeding is better for the environment: Formula production creates a large environmental footprint due to production costs, transportation, and landfill use.
Breastfed infants require fewer doctor visits, prescription, and hospitalization. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (2011) if 90% of mothers in the US exclusively breastfeed for the recommended first six months of life, the US would save approximately $13 billion a year in health care costs.