BreastfeedingBreast feeding vs the bottle has been long debated but the overwhelming research shows breastfeeding has a multitude of positive benefits for both mother and child. From less post-partum stress to keeping the weight off, breast feeding offers many physical and emotional advantages.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Convenient and ready to feed
  • Nutritionally complete
  • Easily digested by baby, causing fewer stomach problems
  • Provides antibodies and immunity
  • Promotes an intimate bond between you and your child
  • Always fresh and safe
  • Automatic re-fill : your body will produce the amount your baby needs
  • Inexpensive
  • Environmentally friendly

Breastfed babies benefit from:

  • Protection from heart disease. The type of fat and cholesterol in breast milk protects against blood vessel changes that later lead to heart disease.
  • Higher IQ. Breast milk contains just the right type of fat and protein to help the baby’s brain grow.
  • Fewer allergies and less chance of developing asthma. Babies given only breast milk for the first 4—6 months develop fewer food allergies.
  • Better tooth and jaw development. The complex actions of the baby’s sucking exercises the muscles in his or her face, jaw, and tongue.
  • Less obesity. Your baby will decide when he or she is full.
  • Less respiratory, ear, and gastrointestinal infections, as well as decreased risk of meningitis, kidney infections and blood poisoning.
  • A reduced risk of childhood cancers, specifically lymphoma.

Benefits to mothers who breastfeed:

  • Less post-partum bleeding and a quicker return of the uterus to its normal shape.
  • Less anemia. Exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of your period, allowing your body more time to rebuild iron stores.
  • Relaxation. Not only can you avoid the work of preparing bottles, but the hormones your body produces when you breastfeed create a feeling of calm and relaxation.
  • Weight loss. Your body uses calories to make milk, and some of these calories come from the fat stores your body has put on throughout your pregnancy.
  • By breastfeeding, you can lower your chances of breast and ovarian cancers and some other illnesses.

Sources:

  • Kingston, Frontenac and Addington Health Unit. (2000) A Guide to Infant Feeding From Birth to 24 months. Kingston ON
  • Scarborough Breastfeeding Network (1999) Breastfeeding Protocols for Health Care Providers. Toronto ON: Toronto Public Health