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Pierce Pioneer

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breast milk is good for your baby- And you

Emily Clark, Staff Writer

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The benefits of breastfeeding surpass far beyond just nutrition. Breastfeeding increases an infant’s immune system, lowers their risk of developing allergies, and improves cognitive development. Yet, many new mothers still choose to bottle-feed their babies, despite the overwhelming evidence against it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first year of a child’s life, and the World Health Organization encourages 2 years of breast milk. Also, the benefits of breastfeeding last beyond the breastfeeding period. Studies show that babies who were breastfed had better mental development, even up to 30 months after breastfeeding occurred.

Breast milk contains enzymes and hormones such as DHA and AA, omega 3 fatty acids which support brain development, and lipase, a fat digesting enzyme. These nutrients, along with special proteins such as lactoferrin and lysozyme, produce amazing benefits. Breastfed babies have a decreased risk for ear infections, diarrhea, and SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. And those are just the short term benefits.

The long term benefits of breastfeeding are just as staggering. Breastfed babies are significantly less likely to develop childhood diseases like diabetes, allergies, asthma, and juvenile cancers. They also have notably lower obesity rates than formula fed babies.

Baby formula, while being the most convenient option, is surprisingly unhealthy for your child. Formula contain few of the vital enzymes, no lysozyme, no DHA, and none of the sleep inducing proteins breast milk supply. It also contains harder to digest proteins such as casein curds, which can be hard on a baby’s kidneys.

Babies fed formula are twice as likely to develop diabetes and 8 times the risk of developing lymphatic cancer. Moreover, most formula’s do not contain live white blood cells, cholesterol, or lipase; all necessary for proper development. The lack of these nutrients may predispose a child to heart disease or central nervous system disorders.

On top of all the benefits for children, breastfeeding is also extremely beneficial to mothers. When breastfeeding occurs, the uterus returns to its normal size quicker, delays the onset of menstruation,and produces the necessary bonding a mother and infant need. It has also decreased vulnerability to ovarian, breast and endometrial cancers. It has even have reduced risks for osteoporosis and bone fractures. Women who breastfeed even return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.

The benefits of breastfeeding last far beyond the first months of an infant’s life. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for every baby, and offers the most benefits for all mothers. Breast milk keeps your baby healthy and can help you lose weight.

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The student news site of Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington.
Benefits of Breastfeeding