The Benefits of Breastfeeding by Lynn Stanton, M.D.
Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ensure a baby’s health and wellbeing. Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect the child from prevalent childhood sicknesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Additionally, it is known to reduce rates of infant mortality, gastroenteritis, respiratory disease, the incidence of type II diabetes, and obesity. Recent studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding for approximately 6 months provides the optimal amount of positive protective effects for the baby. This is not meant to discourage partial breastfeeding, because even a smaller amount is good for the child.
Different cultures have variant attitudes about the importance of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization recommends the following for every infant:
- Breastfeeding should begin within an hour of birth
- Breastfeeding should be “on demand”, as often as the child wants day and night
- Bottles or pacifiers should be avoided
Breastfeeding can be painful and difficult for a new mother to learn, but the short and long term benefits for both the mother and child are worthwhile. Breastfeeding is good for the mother because it:
- Lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer when she is older
- Decreases the risk of obesity
- Provides a natural method of birth control (98% effective when breastfeeding is done exclusively)
- Enables her to return to her pre-pregnancy weight faster
Seeking help from a physician or trained counselor will improve the mother’s likelihood of practice.The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.