Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Important Is Breastfeeding, Really?

PART 1:  What does the research say?
(from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th edition)

There’s no formula that comes even close to the milk your body creates.  Your milk has every vitamin, mineral and other nutritional element that your baby’s body needs, including many that haven’t been discovered or named yet.

Living cells unique to breastmilk inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses in your baby’s still-maturing system.

Interferons and inter-leukins are powerful anti-infectives found in breastmilk (they would cost a fortune if they were for sale!)

Without his normal food, baby is at higher risk for ear infections, intestinal upsets and respiratory problems.  Allergy and dental problems are more common.  Vision, nerves and intestines don’t develop fully.

With artificial baby food, a baby’s kidneys and liver work harder to process wastes products from formula.  Baby’s immune system’s response to vaccinations is less effective.

The risk of SIDS and infant death from many other causes is higher if a baby isn’t breastfed.

Colostrum “seals” baby’s brand-new intestinal walls to protect against foreign germs and proteins that could create allergic sensitivities.

When baby is breastfed, his jaw muscles are exercised and massaged in a way that causes the bones in his face and jaw to develop more fully.

When your newborn takes your breast soon after delivery, your uterus contracts and bleeding slows.

Women who haven’t breastfed are at greater risk for metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

Breastfeeding is an insurance policy against breast, uterine and cervical cancer, meaning you are less susceptible to them.  Osteoporosis and fractures are more common in women who didn’t breastfeed.

There’s a surge of hormones (prolactin and oxytocin) in your body every time you breastfeed that makes you feel loving and nurturing, promoting bonding and attachment to your baby.

1 comment:

  1. I am seriously thinking of writing an essay to new Mothers about the importance of breastfeeding their babies. I am a Mother of 4 and I have breastfed all my children until they are 2 years old. I am currently breastfeeding my 10 mo. old baby.

    In today's society people are so used to conveniences, that at the first sign of pain or difficulty they drop breastfeeding at a heart beat. Most Moms are encouraged by pediatricians and friends to give up breastfeeding.

    I persevered. One because I had set my mind that I was going to breastfeed my babies. Two because I believe that this is how God intended to be - it's the best physical and emotional food for our babies. Three because I had a friend who breastfed 4 of her children and she told me to stick with it - if I stayed the course after the 4th or 6th week things would ease out and all troubles with soreness, cracked nipples and latching should disappear. She was right!!

    My oldest child is 8y.o. None of my children have ever had an ear infection or any other serious disease. They get sick once a year at most. They have no cavities. They are all healthy and smart. :) Breast milk is brain food too!!!!

    Thank you for this article and keep up the good work. :)