Stapleton Pediatrics Blog

Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Rich Gustafson, MD
As a pediatrician and a dad of a currently breastfeeding newborn, I can testify to its many benefits. Though breastfeeding seems like it should be the most natural thing in the world, it doesn’t always start out that way! But in most cases, practice makes perfect, and the benefits mom and baby receive from breastfeeding are well worth the effort. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding (no water, solids, etc.) for the first four to six months of life, breastfeeding with complimentary solids until 12 months of life, and continued breastfeeding past one year until mutually agreeable between mother and infant. Also, please refer to Stapleton Pediatrics’ Breastfeeding Basics for detailed information about breastfeeding, as well as helpful resources. Here are some of the benefits of breastfeeding:
Benefits for Baby
Babies who are breastfed tend to have fewer infections since they receive their mother’s defense system of antibodies (including from vaccination).  Breastfed babies also tend to have fewer allergies, and breastfeeding helps establish healthy “micro biome,” which is the interaction between our bacteria and us; we are finding this increasingly more important. Studies also show that breastfeeding decreases the incidence of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and decreases the rates of adult obesity. Breast milk also changes with the baby’s needs and age, so it provides a customized food source at all times.
Benefits for Mom
Breastfeeding is not just good for baby; there are advantages for mom as well. Breastfeeding helps with weight loss after giving birth. It also saves time and money; it is simpler and faster than making a bottle of formula, and of course, it’s free! Breastfeeding also promotes bonding with baby through physical closeness and the release of hormones that produce feelings of relaxation and attachment. There also are significant health benefits to mom. Studies have shown reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer later in life. Breastfeeding also may reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
Benefits for Society
The advantages of breastfeeding also extend to the world around us. There is no need for production, packaging, shipping and waste management with breast milk. It also has been shown to reduce health care costs and improve workers’ productivity. Since breastfed kids tend to get sick less, parents don’t need to take as much time off of work.
We understand that breastfeeding is not the answer for every family, but we hope parents will consider all of the benefits before making a decision. Remember, if you are having trouble breastfeeding, please let us know, so we can help you identify and work through potential issues.
Posted: 2/16/2015 10:06:45 AM by | with 1 comments
Filed under: benefits, breast, breastfeeding, milk, newborn, of, pediatrics

I have also read several medical studies that have shown breastfeeding can increase a baby's IQ by as much as ten points. I breastfed both of my children until they were two. As a working mom who traveled for occasionally , it was extremely difficult, but I am so glad I made the effort for my children as I watch them thrive now.
2/17/2015 11:50:10 AM

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