Best Way to Understand the Benefits of Breast-Feed

Organizations concerned with maternal and infant/child health strongly encourage you to breast-feed your baby. TheAmericanAcad­emyof Pediatrics’ policy statement on breastfeeding recommends that women breastfeed their infants until the infants are twelve months old. It further states that women should be encouraged to continue beyond twelve months if both mother and child want to keep breastfeeding. Breast-feeding is believed to be beneficial to both your baby and you.

Benefits to Your Baby

Breast milk provides complete nutrition for your baby with just the right amount of calories, protein, and vitamins, and it’s easier to digest than commercially produced formulas. It provides immunity from dis­eases, and as a result of breast-feeding, your baby may develop fewer allergies. Most current literature agrees that breast-fed infants are less likely to have ear infections and learning disorders and may possibly have higher intelligence and a reduced risk of acquiring “type two” dia­betes later in life. Breast-feeding has psychological benefits as well. It requires more contact between you and your baby, and therefore it establishes or enhances the bond between you.

Benefits of Breast Feed Best Way to Understand the Benefits of Breast Feed

Benefits to You

Breast-feeding has benefits for you as well. When you breast-feed, you’ll need to sit down and hold your baby. This forces you to rest peri­odically. While you’re resting, the hormones released by breast-feed­ing assist your uterus with closing blood vessels that were exposed in childbirth and in toning the uterine muscle. Breast-feeding also deliv­ers calories to your baby from your body, and losing these calories may help you get back to your pre-pregnancy figure faster.

Choosing to Breast-Feed

Breast-feeding is accepted and encouraged in most societies in the world. An accepting attitude and the expertise of other family mem­bers and friends greatly helps a new mother adjust to effective and comfortable breast-feeding techniques. With general approbation, it is of course easier for a new mother to fit breast-feeding into her life.

According to theAmericanAcademyof Pediatrics, in 1995, only 59.4 per cent of new mothers were nursing upon leaving the hospital and only 21.6 per cent were still nursing six months later. Why don’t moreU.S.women choose to breast-feed? There are several possible explanations. To breast-feed successfully you need three things: good role models, accurate advice, and commitment. Considering good role models, for instance, most women do what their mothers and sisters did, and in theUnited Statesthat often means bottle-feeding.

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