Breast is best! You keep hearing it, time and again from major health organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF. And even here at Growing Your Baby, breastfeeding is discussed and encouraged. Of course, we also know just how difficult the decision between breast and bottle can be. So, if you’re still deciding, or maybe sitting on the fence, here are 10 great reasons to consider breastfeeding your baby!
#1 – Breast Milk is More Digestible than Formula
Babies can struggle with a number of gastrointestinal issues, from gas to constipation. However, because the nutrients in breast milk are designed to specifically you’re your baby’s needs, it is digested faster and easier than formula. This means that breastfed babies generally have fewer gastrointestinal problems than those that are fed formula.
#2 – Breast Milk is Full of Antibodies!
Want to help protect your baby from colds, flus, ear infections, rotovirus, meningitis, respiratory infections, and more? Breastfeeding is the answer! While some antibodies do pass during birth, most of those fade from baby’s system fairly quickly. But breast milk contains tons of antibodies and it can help protect your baby from birth and beyond.
#3 – Breastfed Babies Have Lower Risk of Obesity
With childhood obesity at an all-time high, it’s important to understand the potential risk factors. Breastfed babies have significantly lower rates of fat compared to formula-fed babies at one year of age, and breastfeeding offers protection from future obesity. This is due to a number of different factors, from the increased risk of over-feeding formula fed babies to the more difficult to digest nutrients. In contrast, breastfed babies regulate their own feedings, and they digest the nutrients easier.
#4 – Breastfeeding Lowers Baby’s Risk for Diabetes
Just like obesity, diabetes is becoming more and more prominent in children. According to a number of studies, breastfeeding can help defend against this potentially life-long condition.
#5 – Breastfeeding Reduces Baby’s Risk of Allergies and Asthma
Allergies and asthma aren’t a new issue in children, but it is a growing problem. Again, those antibodies and proteins from mom help to reduce the risk of both conditions. This could be especially important for babies that are genetically pre-disposed for allergies or asthma.
#6 – Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
There are many risk factors for SIDS (smoking during or after pregnancy, bed-sharing, premature birth, and more). However, studies have shown that exclusively breastfed babies have an overall lower risk of suffering from this tragic condition.
#7 – Breast Milk Promotes Healthy Gut Bacteria
Good intestinal bacteria are important for a number of reasons, but most pertain to autoimmune issues such as asthma and allergies. But there’s another string covered under gut bacteria—all of which you’ll be reducing your baby’s risk for—including colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease, and more.
#8 Breast Milk is Good for Baby’s Brain!
The type of fats and nutrients found in breast milk are exactly the nutrients that babies need for brain health and growth! In fact, studies have shown that exclusively breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests later in life than those that were not breastfed. Best of all . . . ANY amount of breastfeeding can provide this benefit! And that brings us to our next reason.
#9- Some is Better Than None
We get that breastfeeding is hard and that jobs or school or other factors in life may prevent you from breastfeeding long-term. The fact that you’re even willing to give it a try matters! Breastfeeding even just one day matters! Obviously, the more you can do it, the better, but don’t shy away from it just because you can’t commit to six months or a year. All of these benefits can be experienced, even if you can only do it for a little while.
#10 – Besides, Breast Milk Provides Mom with Benefits, Too!
Breast milk isn’t just great for your baby; it’s also good for you! From reducing your risk of breast and ovarian cancer to helping you burn and extra 500 calories a day to shrinking your uterus shortly after birth to improving your sense of bonding with your baby, you can expect to reap many benefits while nursing. Oh, and you can add all of that to never having to get up to make a bottle in the middle of the night. 😉