The Many Advantages of Breastfeeding

The Many Advantages of Breastfeeding

If you are able to breastfeed your newborn you may want to make sure you do it as long as you can. The vast amount of benefits associated with this natural process just may surprise you.

In today’s toxic environment, giving your child the many advantages of breastfeeding could enable them to hit-the-ground-running when it comes to their optimal health.

Deep Breathes

One of the last organs to form in a newborn baby are the lungs. If the baby does not go to full term there’s a risk for being born with weak lungs and possibly a propensity for developing asthma.

The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine cites combined published reports of fourteen years studying 1,500 newborns made up of those breastfed and not breastfed.

It was found that,

“The team discovered that exclusive breastfeeding was the most powerful method of ensuring strong and healthy lungs that held more air volume and had less air loss…breastfeeding appears to significantly reduce a child’s risk of developing asthma, as non-breastfed children are far more prone to develop this and other respiratory conditions.” (Natural News)

Strong Heart

Breastfeeding for a year or more could substantially strengthen your heart.

A 2009 study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that,

“…women who breastfed their children were less likely to have developed hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or CVD [cardiovascular disease] when post-menopausal. Women who reported longer histories of lactation had significantly lower rates of risk factors for CVD even after adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle variables, family history, and BMI [body mass index] category.”

Make A Smarter Kid

If you look forward to putting a bumper sticker on your car that reads, “My child made the honor roll,” then breastfeeding may help you get there.

McGill University in Canada published a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry (5/08) stating that,

“The experimental group [children breastfed] had higher means on all of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence measures…These results, based on the largest randomized trial ever conducted in the area of human lactation, provide strong evidence that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children’s cognitive development.”

Slim Down Fast

The body burns a lot of energy when women breastfeed or pump. During lactation the uterus naturally contracts and calorie consumption rises.

The San Francisco Gate reports that according to the American Pregnancy Association a woman can burn between 425-700 calories per day when they breastfeed their newborn. It is recommended to eat small meals every few hours to maintain enough energy to feed your baby.

Natural Immune Booster

A breastfeeding mother not only passes essential nutrients to her newborn but also strengthens the immune system.

Research of breast feeding and the immune system conducted in the Netherlands and published in the Journal of Nutrition (9/08) concluded that,

“The interaction between mother and child postpartum plays an important role in the development of the infant’s immune system. The immunological memory of the mother is passed to her infant via breast milk, and breast milk contains a variety of immune-modulating compounds causing immunological imprinting and programming.”

The Big Picture

In addition to enhancing your and your child’s health, breastfeeding may also offer some other surprising benefits. These are part of the big picture where one practice can affect many other components.

Women’s Health lists these to include:

  • Financial savings – Breastfed infants usually need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations. Plus, it’s a lot less expensive than canned or powdered formula.
  • Eco-friendly – Breastmilk is a renewable source that does not result in bottles, cans and plastics thrown into our landfills.
  • Less Fatalities – Research shows that if 90% of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented.
  • Employer Benefits – Mothers who breastfeed miss less work to care for sick infants than mothers who feed their infants formula. Employer medical costs are also lower.

The many advantages of breastfeeding outweigh avoiding this essential part of child rearing. If there is a physical challenge where you may be unable to breastfeed there are alternative practices.

However, it is the bond that develops between mother and child during feedings that should always be the most important practice of all.