Benefits of Breastfeeding
Environment & Society
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial acts a mother can do for her child. Dramatic health benefits have been proven to pass from mother to child through breast milk. From antibodies which protect an infant at birth...to the exclusive nutrients in mother's milk which have been shown to prevent a number of childhood diseases...the benefits are incalculable. There is no other single action by which a mother can so impact the present and future health of her baby.
Breastfeeding is the natural next step to pregnancy and childbirth. After birth, there is a period of "external gestation" which lasts 9 to 12 months. Breastfeeding creates superior attachment between mother and child, and meets baby's every security, affection and physical contact need. This bond is difficult to describe, but it is nevertheless extraordinarily strong, complex and essential to the development of this new little human being.
The benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby start from day one. Breastfeeding is a cost effective way of feeding an infant, providing the best nourishment for a child at a small nutrient cost to the mother. Frequent and exclusive breastfeeding can delay the return of fertility through lactational amenorrhea, though breastfeeding is an imperfect means of birth control. During breastfeeding beneficial hormones are released into the mother's body and the maternal bond can be strengthened. Breastfeeding is possible throughout pregnancy, but generally milk production will be reduced at some point.
Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. Nothing can duplicate the properties of breast milk, no matter how many vitamins, minerals and supplements are added to what is basically a chemical formulation.
Breast milk remains the one and only natural, complete and complex nutrition for human infants. It is nature's formula for ensuring the health and quality of life for infants, as well as on through childhood to adult life. Just as importantly, breastfeeding promotes a very special bond between mother and child that only a mother can provide.
Benefits of Breastfeeding > for Infant • Mother • Family • Hospital • Environment & Society • Other