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Breastfeeding Benefits

?Everyone has heard that breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for babies and it's good for the mother's health too, but there can be a lot to learn about all of the benefits of breastfeeding. The thick yellow breast milk that is produced during pregnancy and just after birth called colostrum is very rich in nutrients and antibodies that combine to protect a newborn baby in many ways. Even though babies can only ingest a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, the tiny amount consumed is just right for newborns. Within a week after birth, the breast milk will change into mature breast milk that contains the right amounts of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help a baby continue to grow properly. Mature breast milk is thinner than colostrum, but it still contains all of the essential nutrients and antibodies that a baby needs during early development.
Infant formulas have their place, but the proteins in most formulas come from cow’s milk and it takes time for a baby’s stomach to adjust to digesting them. Breast milk is far easier to digest and delivers cells, hormones, and antibodies that protect babies from illness. The protection delivered by natural breast milk cannot be matched by a chemical formula and many studies have shown that formula-fed babies experience far more ear infections and problems with diarrhea. Breast feeding reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) as well as necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects a baby’s gastrointestinal tract. New research has also shown that breastfeeding can reduce a baby’s  risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and atopic dermatitis skin rashes too.
Babies aren’t the only ones who benefit from breast feeding, as nursing mothers benefit from it too. Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk for mothers of developing health problems like Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression. Formula feeding might seem like it would be easier at first glance, but once a breast feeding routine has developed it makes life a lot easier when you don’t have to sterilize bottles and nipples and there is no formula to buy, measure, and mix. In fact, breast feeding can save quite a bit of money over formula feeding when you consider that formula feeding can cost nearly $2,000 each year, and that breastfed babies get sick a lot less often too. The physical contact between mother and baby is important to both mothers and babies, and can increase the mother’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that helps the breast milk flow correctly.
Considering the advantages of breast feeding also includes the fact that medical care costs for breastfed infants are always lower than infants who do not breast feed and that means the whole nation could save money as a result. Studies have estimated that if most infants in the country were breast fed for just six months, some 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented and the nation would save over $5 billion in health care costs alone. The fact that breastfeeding can protect babies from diarrhea and other illnesses caused by contaminated water supplies in developing nations is another important factor that serves to point out that breast feeding is Nature’s perfect solution to growing healthy humans, no matter where you live.

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