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Breastfeeding is the best way to give your baby all the nutrients they need, plus many other benefits. It also delivers healthy antibodies that help your infant resist sickness and disease.
Studies suggest that breastfed babies have lower rates of SIDS and leukemia and higher IQ scores later in life. Breastfeeding provides a closeness and bond between mother and child while helping the mom stay healthy.
Breastfeeding is a mother’s natural way to feed her baby. It provides a nearly perfect mix of protein, sugar, fat, and most vitamins and antibodies to protect her infant against illness. It also helps prevent allergies and eczema. Breastfeeding can also help babies eat more solid food when they are ready.
Studies show that breastfeeding reduces ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. It may even reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies exclusively breastfed for at least six months have lower rates of obesity and a more remarkable ability to concentrate in school. Breastfeeding can also help babies develop better eyesight because the fatty acids in human milk—primarily DHA—support healthy brain development. It also allows mothers to heal faster after childbirth because it promotes the release of oxytocin, which stimulates your uterus to contract.
Breastmilk is naturally designed to meet the needs of human babies, and it includes disease-fighting substances that boost your baby’s immune system. Babies who are exclusively breastfed have fewer digestive, lung, and ear infections. They are also less likely to contract serious diseases like SIDS, childhood leukemia, and lymphoma.
Studies have linked breastfeeding with a lower risk for diabetes, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. It also helps your baby maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of obesity in later life.
Breastfeeding Washington DC also promotes gut health by fostering the growth of good bacteria that help with nutrient absorption and fat storage, explains Baby Center. It’s even been shown to make your baby smarter — researchers have found that exclusively breastfed babies have higher IQ scores than formula-fed children.
The physical, skin-to-skin contact that is part of breastfeeding increases both the emotional and the physical bond between mother and infant. This closeness helps your baby feel secure and comforted, even when hungry at night.
Breastfeeding also releases oxytocin, which helps the uterus shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size and reduces postpartum bleeding. It can also burn extra calories, which may help new mothers lose pregnancy weight faster.
Research shows that breastfeeding mothers experience a lower risk of depression and have more positive moods than those who do not. This is likely because breastfeeding decreases levels of stress hormones like cortisol. It has also been found that nursing can improve the immune system, which may reduce a woman’s risk of inflammatory diseases.
Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories. So, if you’re breastfeeding and want to lose weight, focus on healthy food choices, such as lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-mercury fish.
The oxytocin released during skin-to-skin contact while nursing promotes bonding and a close relationship between mother and child. It also helps babies get used to being fed and can help them transition to solid foods.
Human milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs and is easier to digest than formula. Studies show that breastfed infants are at a lower risk for diseases such as ear infections, asthma, and obesity and have higher IQs. It’s also cheaper than formula. Breastfeeding also saves money on breastfeeding equipment such as a pump and nursing bras.
A good night’s sleep is essential for your baby’s health and well-being. When a baby is well rested, their growth hormones are released, stress levels are reduced, and new brain connections are formed. On the flip side, if babies aren’t getting enough sleep, they can become overtired, leading to increased cortisol levels, decreased appetite, and disrupted daily functioning.
In the first few months, infants will likely need several naps daily and wake up at least once at night. However, as they grow and develop more regular circadian rhythms, many babies will be on a three times-per-day nap schedule and sleeping for longer stretches at night.