Breast Feeding helps you bond with your baby and makes your baby healthier
The thick yellow first breast milk that your body produces during pregnancy and right after your baby is born is called colostrum. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies that protect your baby. Although your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, this is the right amount for his/her tiny stomach. By the third to fifth day after birth, colostrum changes into mature breast milk which has the correct amounts of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It is a thinner type of milk than colostrum but it provides all of the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs.
Easier to digest and fights disease
Breast milk is easier to digest than formula (for most babies, especially premature ones). The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk and babies’ stomachs have to adjust to digesting these proteins. Breast milk also fights disease because the cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from getting sick. Formula cannot match what is in human breast milk. In fact, among formula-fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common.
Formula-fed babies have higher risks of:
Necrotizing enterocolitis: a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants
Lower respiratory infections
Type 2 diabetes
Some research shows that breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of Type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and atopic dermatitis (a type of skin rash) in babies. Breastfeeding has also been shown to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too
It's easier: When you breastfeed, there are no bottles to wash and nipples to sterilize. You do not have to buy, measure, and mix formula. And you don't have to prepare bottles in the middle of the night! You can satisfy your baby’s hunger right away when breastfeeding.
It saves money: Formula and feeding supplies can cost well over $1,500 a year, depending on how much your baby eats. Breastfed babies are sick less often, which can lower your health care costs.
Brings you closer to your baby: Physical contact is important to newborns and helps them feel more secure and comforted. Mothers can benefit from this closeness too. The skin-to-skin contact can boost your oxytocin, a hormone that helps your milk flow and also helps calm you.
You miss less work: Breastfeeding mothers miss fewer days from work because their infants are sick less often.
Breastfeeding helps lower the risk of these health problems in women:
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