The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is one of the most emotional and natural connections between a mother and an infant. In fact, studies from the National Institutes of Health have linked breastfeeding with numerous positive psychological impacts on babies as they grow older, including improved cognitive performance and heightened socio-affective responding; for mothers, breastfeeding can lead to reduced physiological and subjective stress, as well as heightened maternal sensitivity and care.
But the benefits of breastfeeding go far beyond the psychological impacts. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, learn some of the positive physical impacts breastfeeding can have on both children and mothers.
An excellent source of nutrition
It seems obvious, but the plain truth is breastmilk is the absolute perfect food for infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, as the baby grows, the composition of the mother’s breastmilk will change to meet the child’s needs.
Builds baby’s immunity
One of the more incredible aspects of breastfeeding is the sharing of antibodies from the mother to the child, which strengthens the child’s developing immune system. According to the CDC, children who have been breastfed are at a lower risk of short- and long-term diseases, including asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome. Babies who are breastfed are also at a lower risk of ear infections and stomach bugs, which means healthier and happier babies.
Health benefits for Mom
Babies aren’t the only ones reaping the health benefits of breastfeeding. Studies have shown mothers who breastfeed are at a lower risk of diseases like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Feeding on demand
Formula prep is a lot of work. Measuring and heating the water, adding the powder, stirring, rinsing… All this can be quite a challenge when Mom and baby are on the move. Breastfeeding, on the other hand, can be done whenever, wherever. As an added bonus, the CDC reports breastfeeding can serve as a form of comfort for babies while traveling, reducing stress for both Mom and baby.