Unfortunately, breastfeeding has become a topic of much divisiveness in the medical community, in media and in the public arena. 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child is an article that is more about the relationship between breastfeeding and mother and baby’s health than anything else. Many of the reasons to breastfeed your child are very important such as: Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria; Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies; and Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.
Even though I didn’t personally write the article below, I highly agree with the content and hope every mother-to-be understands the health benefits of breastfeeding – for both mother and baby. The article is not to villianize or cause guilt for those who are unable to breastfeed. Many mothers find themselves in situations that don’t permit breastfeeding. Possibly they’re undergoing chemotherapy. Possibly they are on strong medications for a health concern. Possibly they’ve had breast implants or breast reduction surgery. The take-away is to please be compassionate and be nice. If you’re able to successfully breastfeed, please be aware of what you say or imply to struggling moms. Their choices are not simple, and they’re doing the best they can with the situation they’ve been given.
101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child
Written by Leslie Burby
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding.
According to the AAP, “Human milk is species-specific, and all substitute feeding preparations differ markedly from it, making human milk uniquely superior for infant feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short and long-term outcomes. In addition, human milk-fed premature infants receive significant benefits with respect to host protection and improved developmental outcomes compared with formula-fed premature infants… Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” A.A.P. Breastfeeding Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 2 February 2005 (aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496)
- The American Dietetic Association promotes breastfeeding.
The ADA also believes that “the bonding that occurs during breastfeeding makes it a special choice.” The ADA actively promotes breastfeeding, stating that “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that broad-based efforts are needed to break the barriers to breastfeeding initiation and duration. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and breastfeeding with complementary foods for at least 12 months is the ideal feeding pattern for infants. Increases in initiation and duration are needed to realize the health, nutritional, immunological, psychological, economical, and environmental benefits of breastfeeding.” ADA Website: http://www.eatright.org/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=8425
- Breast milk is more digestible than formula.
“In recent years nutritionists have voiced concern about overly high levels of protein in the American diet. Since cow’s milk contains about twice as much protein as human milk, formula-fed babies usually receive more protein than they need (much of it in the form of the less digestible casein). The stools of formula-fed babies are so bulky because the babies cannot absorb so much protein, and excrete the excess in their stool, whereas breast-fed babies absorb virtually 100% of the protein in human milk.” The Complete Book Of Breastfeeding M.S. Eiger. MD, S. Wendkos Olds, Copyright 1999, Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 708 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.
- Not breastfeeding increases mother’s risk of breast cancer.
Many studies have shown that women who breastfeed have lower risks of developing breast cancer. Recently, data from 47 studies in 30 countries was re-examined. The study group concluded that the incidence of breast cancer in developed countries could be reduced by more than half if women had the number of births and lifetime duration of breastfeeding that have been common in developing countries until recently. According to the analysis, breastfeeding could account for almost two-thirds of this estimated reduction in breast cancer incidence. Jernstorm, H et al “Breast-feeding and the risk of breast cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.” J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004;96:1094-1098 Lee, SY et al “Effect of lifetime lactation on breast cancer risk: a Korean women’s cohort study.” Int J Cancer. 2003;105:390-393Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer (2002). “Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50,302 women with breast cancer and 96,973 women without the disease.” Lancet 360: 187-95Zheng et al, “Lactation Reduces Breast Cancer Risk in Shandong Province, China” Am. J. Epidemiol. Dec. 2000, 152 (12): 1129 |Newcomb PA, Storer BE, Longnecker MP, et al. “Lactation and a reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer.” N Engl J Med. 1994;330:81-87.
- Baby’s suckling helps shrink mother’s uterus after childbirth.
The uterus of the non-breastfeeding mother will never shrink back to its pre-pregnant size. It will always remain slightly enlarged.”Nursing will help you to regain your figure more quickly, since the process of lactation causes the uterus (which has increased during pregnancy to about 20 times its normal size) to shrink more quickly to its pre-pregnancy size.”
The Complete Book Of Breastfeeding M.S. Eiger. MD, S. Wendkos Olds, Copyright 1999, Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 708 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.
- Formula feeding increases baby girls’ risk of developing breast cancer in later life.
Women who were formula-fed as infants have higher rates of breast cancer as adults. For both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer, women who were breastfed as children, even if only for a short time, had a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who were bottle-fed as infants.Freudenheim, J. et al. 1994 “Exposure to breast milk in infancy and the risk of breast cancer”. Epidemiology 5:324-331.
- Formula Feeding is associated with lower I.Q.
Human breast milk enhances brain development and improves cognitive development in ways that formula cannot. One study has found that the average I.Q. of 7 and 8 year old children who had been breastfed as babies was 10 points higher than their bottle fed peers. All of the children involved had been born prematurely and tube fed the human milk, indicating that the milk itself, not the act of breastfeeding, caused this difference in I.Q. level. Another study to support this statement was done in New Zealand. Here an 18 year longitudinal study of over 1,000 children found that those who were breastfed as infants had both higher intelligence and greater academic achievement than children who were infant-formula fed. HMortensen EL et al (2002). “The association between duration of breastfeeding and adult intelligence” JAMA 287: 2365-71Anderson JW et al (1999) “Breastfeeding and cognitive development: a meta-analysis” Am J Clin Nutr 70: 525-35Horwood and Fergusson, “Breastfeeding and Later Cognitive and Academic Outcomes” Jan 1998 Pediatrics Vol. 101, No. 1Lucas A., “Breast Milk and Subsequent Intelligence Quotient in Children Born Preterm”. Lancet 1992;339:261-62 |Wang YS, Wu SY. “The effect of exclusive breastfeeding on development and incidence of infection in infants.” J Hum Lactation. 1996; 12:27-30.
- Breast milk is always ready and comes in a nicer package than formula does.
Need we say more?
- Breast milk helps pass meconium.
Babies are born with a sticky tar-like substance called meconium in their intestines. Colostrum, or early milk, is uniquely designed to help move this substance through the infant’s body.
- Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby’s immune system.
Formula provides neither of these benefits. “Breastfed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother’s antibodies to disease. About 80% of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Breastfed babies are protected in varying degrees from a number of illnesses including, pneumonia, botulism, bronchitis, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, and German measles. Furthermore, mothers produce antibodies to what ever disease is present in their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight diseases their babies are exposed to as well.” Lawrence, Ruth A. M.D., “Babies are Born to Breastfeed”, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Statement Koutras, A.K., “Fecal Secretory Immunoglobulin A in Breast Milk vs. Formula Feeding in Early Infancy”. J. Ped Gastro Nutr 1989.
- Breastfeeding satisfies baby’s emotional needs and increases bonding between mother and baby.
All babies need to be held. There is no more comforting feeling for an infant of any age than being held close and cuddled while breastfeeding. In fact, studies have shown that premature babies are more likely to die if they are not held or stroked. Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother’s body. “It is now well established that oxytocin, as well as stimulating uterine contractions and milk ejection, promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and offspring.” Uvnas-Moberg, Eriksson: “Breastfeeding: physiological, endocrine and behavioral adaptations caused by oxytocin and local neurogenic activity in the nipple and mammary gland.” Acta Paediatrica, 1996 May, 85(5):525-30.
- Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition.
“Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it. The breastfed infant is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short and long-term benefits.” A.A.P. Breastfeeding Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk (RE2729).
- Not breastfeeding increases mother’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Based on the research, breastfeeding for a total of 12 to 24 months can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by about one-third.Hartage et al, “Rates and risks of ovarian cancer in subgroups of white women in the United States.” Obstet Gynecol 1994 Nov; 84(5): 760-764 Rosenblatt KA, Thomas DB, “Lactation and the risk of Epithelial ovarian cancer”. Int J Epidemiol. 1993;22:192-197Gwinn ML, “Pregnancy, breastfeeding and oral contraceptives and the risk of Epithelial ovarian cancer.” J. Clin. Epidemiol. 1990; 43:559-568.
- Nursing helps mom lose weight after baby is born.
Breastfeeding requires an average of 500 extra calories per day and breastfeeding mothers who eat a normal diet lose the extra weight they gained during pregnancy faster than moms who choose to bottle feed. In one study, mothers who breastfed exclusively or partially had significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and were less above their pre-pregnancy weights at 1 month postpartum than mothers who fed formula exclusively.Other studies have also shown that women who were overweight when they began their pregnancies can safely get closer to their ideal weight by breastfeeding in conjunction with a moderate exercise program. DC.A. Lovelady et al “The effect of weight loss in overweight lactating women on the growth of their infants.” New Eng Journal of Med, 2000; 342: 449-453 Kramer, F., “Breastfeeding reduces maternal lower body fat.” J. Am Diet Assoc 1993; 93(4):429-33 Dewey KG, Heinig MJ, Nommwen LA. “Maternal weight-loss patterns during prolonged lactation. “Am J Clin Nutr 1993;58:162-166.
- Pre-term milk is specially designed for premature infants.
“Milk produced by women who deliver prematurely differs from that produced after a full-term pregnancy. Specifically, during the first month after parturition, pre-term milk maintains a composition similar to that of colostrum..” Hamosh, Margit, PhD, Georgetown University Medical Center “Breast-feeding: Unraveling the Mysteries of Mother’s Milk”.
- The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend it.
“Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. There after, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth is possible except for a few medical conditions, and unrestricted exclusive breastfeeding results in ample milk production”. “Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding”, World Health Organization in collaboration with UNICEF.
- Breastfeeding protects against Crohn’s disease (intestinal disorder).
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic intestinal disorder. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation extending into the deeper layers of the intestinal wall. It is difficult to treat, but several studies have shown that breastfeeding may help babies avoid developing the disease in later life. Rigas A, Rigas B, Blassman M, et al. “Breast-feeding and maternal smoking in the etiology of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in childhood.” Ann Epidemiol. 1993;3387-392 Koletzko S, Sherman P, Corey M, et al. “Role of infant feeding practices in development of Crohn’s disease in childhood.” Br Med J. 1989;298:1617-1618.
- Formula feeding increases risk of children developing diabetes.
There are many studies linking development of insulin dependant Type I diabetes (formerly referred to as “juvenile diabetes”) to lack of breastfeeding. The results of a study from Finland suggest that the introduction of dairy products at an early age, and high milk consumption during childhood increase the level of cow’s milk antibodies in the children’s systems. This factor is associated with an increased risk of insulin dependent diabetes. Now a new study has indicated that breastfeeding in infancy may help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This sort of diabetes was formerly referred to as “adult onset” diabetes, but has been mysteriously occurring in more and more youngsters. Young, T.K. et al. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2002; 156(7): 651-55Gerstein HC. “Cow’s milk exposure and type 1 diabetes mellitus”. Diabetes Care. 1994;17:13-19Virtanen et al: “Diet, Cow’s milk protein antibodies and the risk of IDDM in Finnish children.” Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Diabetologia, Apr 1994, 37(4):381-7 Virtanen SM, Rasanen L, Aro A, et al. “Infant feeding in Finnish children <7 yr of age with newly diagnosed IDDM” Diabetes Care, 1991;14:415-417.
- Breastfeeding baby helps decrease insulin requirements in diabetic mothers.
Reduction in insulin dose postpartum was significantly greater in those who were breastfeeding than those who were bottle feeding. Davies, H.A., “Insulin Requirements of Diabetic Women who Breast Feed.” British Medical Journal, 1989.
- Breastfeeding may help stabilize progress of maternal endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrial tissue in a woman’s body begins to form in places other than her uterus, such as on her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of the uterus. This tissue continues to function like uterine tissue would in the uterus, and sheds once a month during the woman’s menstrual cycle. Since there is no vaginal outlet for this blood and tissue, painful complications, including sterility, may result. There is much clinical research showing that pregnancy temporarily stops the progress of this disease. Many women say that the disease also seems to be alleviated by breastfeeding. It certainly makes sense that the delay in the return of a woman’s menstrual cycle would be desirable in preventing the endometriosis from starting up again. Some women even claim a permanent cure. Annie Havard, “Breastfeeding – a cure for endometriosis”, Allaiter ajourd’hui, Quarterly Bulletin of LLL France, No. 25, Oct. – Dec. 1995.
- Baby’s suckling helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mother.
Nursing her baby causes the mother’s body to release oxytocin, which stimulates contractions which help shrink the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size while expelling the placenta. These contractions also shut off the maternal blood vessels that formerly fed the baby and discourage excessive bleeding. Women who choose not to breastfeed must be given synthetic oxytocin to insure against hemorrhaging. Chua S, et al. “Influence of breastfeeding and nipple stimulation on postpartum uterine activity.” Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1994; 101:804-805.
- Not breastfeeding increases mother’s risk of developing endometrial cancer.
A World Health Organization study has shown that the longer a woman breastfeeds, the less likely she is to get endometrial cancer. Rosenblatt, KA et al “Prolonged lactation and endometrial cancer” Int. J. Epidemiol. 1995; 24:499-503.
- Formula feeding increases chances of baby developing allergies.
“Breastfed babies have fewer allergies than artificially fed babies. This is especially important if your family has a history of allergies. Many babies are allergic to cow’s milk formulas. Some babies are even allergic to soy formulas. Breastfeeding protects against other allergies, such as atopic eczema, food allergies, and respiratory allergies.” Wiggins, PK , Dettwyler, KA” Breastfeeding: A Mother’s Gift”, July 1, 1998 ed., Chapter 1, L.A. Publishing Co. Saarinen UM, Kajossari M. “Breastfeeding as prophylaxis against atopic disease: prospective follow-up study until 17 years old.” Lancet. 1995;346:1065-1069.
- Breast milk lowers risk of baby developing asthma.
A number of studies have linked lack of breastfeeding to asthma. According to one study, six year old children were more likely to have asthma if they had not been exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months. Oddy W.H., et al BMJ 1999;319:815-819 ( 25 September ).
- Formula feeding increases baby’s risk of otitis media (ear infections).
Research has shown that ear infections are up to 3-4 times more prevalent in formula-fed infants. Aniansson G, Alm B, Andersson B, et al. “A prospective cohort study on breast-feeding and otitis media in Swedish infants”. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1994; 13:183-188Duncan, B et al “Exclusive breastfeeding for at least four months protects against Otitis Media”, Pediatrics 91(1993): 897-872.
- Formula feeding may increase risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Sadly, as of now, researchers have not yet discovered any one factor to account for SIDS. However, there are a number of studies showing a possible link between lack of breastfeeding and SIDS. A Swedish study has found that babies who were breastfed exclusively for less than 8 weeks had a 3 – 5 times greater risk of dying from SIDS than babies who were breastfed exclusively for four months. Horn, RS et al “Comparison of evoked arousability in breast and formula fed infants.” 2004 Arch Dis Child.; 89(1):22-25 Alm et al, “Breastfeeding and the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Scandanavia.” June 2002 Arch of Dis in Child. 86: 400-402.McVea, KL et al “The role of breastfeeding in sudden infant death syndrome.” J Hum Lact. 2000;16:13-20Fredrickson, DD et al., “Relationship between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Breastfeeding Intensity and Duration.” Am. Journal of Diseases in Children, 1993: 147:460Ford RPK, et al .”Breastfeeding and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.” International Journal of Diseases in Children, 1993, 22(5):885-890 | Taylor BJ, Mitchell EA, et al. “Breastfeeding and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Int J. Epidemiol. 1993;22:885-890 | Scragg LK, Mitchell EA, Tonkin SL, et al. “Evaluation of the cot death prevention programme in South Auckland.” NZ Med J. 1993;106:8-10.
- Breastfeeding protects baby against diarrheal infections.
Numerous studies have shown that diarrheal infections are much more common in formula-fed babies. This is true throughout the world, despite a common misconception that only people living in areas with contaminated water need be concerned with this issue. Such infections are more likely to be fatal in developing nations, but all formula-fed infants are at greater risk than their breastfed peers. Betran et al; “Ecological Study of effect of breastfeeding on infant mortality in Latin America.” Br Med J 2001; 323:1-5 Dewey KG, Heinig MJ, Nommsen-Rivers LA. “Differences in morbidity between breast-fed and formula-fed infants.” Pediatr. 1995;126:696-702Beaudry M, Dufour R, Marcoux S. “Relation Between infant feeding and infections during the first six months of life.” J Pediatr. 1995; 126:191-197Howie PW, Forsyth JS, Ogston SA, et al. “Protective effect of breast feeding against infection.” Br Med J. 1990;300:11-16.
- Breastfeeding protects baby against bacterial meningitis.
Meningitis is an infection which causes the inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a type of bacteria called Hemophilus influenzae type b (HiB). Breastfeeding is protective against infections caused by this bacteria, and the meningitis which may result. Cochi SL, Fleming DW, Hightower AW, et al. “Primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b disease: a population-based assessment of risk factors.” J Pediatr. 1986;108:997-896Istre GR, Conner JS, Broome CV, et al. “Risk factors for primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease: increased risk from day care attendance and school-aged household members.” J Pediatr. 1985;106:190-198.
- Breastfeeding protects baby against respiratory infections.
Breastfeeding effectively protects nurslings from many life-threatening respiratory infection including those caused by rotaviruses. Studies have shown breastfed babies are less than half as likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia or bronchiolitis, and have one-fifth the number of lower respiratory tract infections compared to formula-fed infants. According to a recent meta-analysis of studies from developed countries, the risk of severe respiratory tract illness resulting in hospitalization is more than tripled among infants who are not breastfed, compared with those who are exclusively breastfed for four months. Oddy, WH et al “Breast feeding and respiratory morbidity in infancy: a birth cohort study” Archives of Disease in Childhood 2003;88:224-228 Galton Bachrach et al (2003) Breastfeeding and the Risk of Hospitalization for Respiratory Disease in Infancy” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 157:237-243Grover M et al “Effect of human milk prostaglandins and lactoferrin on respiratory syncytial virus and rotavirus” Acta Paediatr. 1997; 86: 315-316Cunningham, Allan S. MD “Breastfeeding, Bottle-feeding and Illness – An Annotated Bibliography”, 1996. Wright AL, Holberg CH, Taussig LM, et al. “Relationship of infant feeding to recurrent wheezing at age 6 years.” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:758-763 | Piscane A, et al “Breastfeeding and acute lower respiratory infections” Acta Paediatr. 1994; 83: 714-718.
- Formula fed babies have a higher risk of developing certain childhood cancers.
In a study done by researchers at the University of Minnesota it was found that babies who were breast fed for at least one month had a 21% less chance of getting leukemia than formula fed babies. The risk was 30% for children breast fed for 6 months. Shu X-O, et al. “Breastfeeding and the risk of childhood acute leukemia”. J Natl Cancer Inst 1999; 91: 1765-72.
- Breastfeeding decreases chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Recent results from a Swedish study indicate that breastfed babies were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis as adults. An earlier University of North Carolina/Duke University study had indicated breastfed children were only 40% as likely to develop juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Jacobsson LTH et al “Perinatal Characteristics and risk of rheumatoid arthritis” BMJ 2003; 326: 1068-1069” Mother’s Milk: An Ounce of Prevention?” Arthritis Today May-June 1994.
- Breastfeeding decreases child’s chances of contracting Hodgkins disease.
Hodgkins disease is a type of lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph system. It can develop in children, although it is less likely to do so in children who were breastfed as infants. “An Exploratory Study of Environmental and Medical Factors Potentially Related to Childhood Cancer.” Medical & Pediatric Oncology, 1991; 19(2):115-21.
- Breastfeeding protects baby against some vision defects.
In a study in Bangladesh, breastfeeding was a protective factor for night blindness among preschool-aged children in both rural and urban areas. Breast milk is generally the main, if not the only source, of vitamin A during a child’s first 24 months of life (or for the duration of breastfeeding). Bloem, M. et al. “The role of universal distribution of vitamin A capsules in combating vitamin A deficiency in Bangladesh.: Am J Epidemiol 1995; 142(8): 843-55 Birch E, et al. “Breastfeeding and optimal visual development.” J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus 1993;30:33-8.
- Breastfeeding decreases chances of osteoporosis.
According to many studies, both breastfeeding mothers and their children will be less at risk for development of this disease. One study found that the odds that a woman with osteoporosis did not breastfeed her baby was 4 times higher than for a control woman. In another study, Dr. Alan Lucas, MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Center of London, found that 8-year-olds who were fed formula rather than breast fed as infants, had less developed bone mineralization than those fed breast milk. “Bone mineral density decreases during lactation, but after weaning showed higher bone mineral density than those who did not breastfeed.” Kalwart HJ and Specker BL “Bone mineral loss during lactation and recovery after weaning.” Obstet. Gynecol. 1995; 86:26-32 Blaauw, R. et al. “Risk factors for development of osteoporosis in a South African population.” SAMJ 1994; 84:328-32Melton LJ, Bryant SC, Wahner HW, et al. “Influence of breastfeeding and other reproductive factors on bone mass later in life.” Osteoporos Int. 1993;22:684-691Cumming RG, Klineberg RJ. “Breastfeeding and other reproductive factors and the risk of hip fractures in elderly woman.” Int J Epidemiol 1993;22:684-691.
- Breast milk aids in proper intestinal development.
The gastrointestinal system of a newborn baby is not yet mature. It is still permeable, allowing bacteria, viruses and toxins to pass through. This intestinal permeability decreases more slowly in formula-fed babies. According to Dr. Jack Newman “…certain hormones in milk (such as cortisol) and smaller proteins (including epidermal growth factor, nerve growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and somatomedin C) act to close up the leaky mucosal lining of the newborn, making it relatively impermeable to unwanted pathogens and other potentially harmful agents. Indeed, animal studies have demonstrated that postnatal development of the intestine occurs faster in animals fed their mother’s milk. And animals that also receive colostrum, containing the highest concentrations of epidermal growth factor, mature even more rapidly.” Newman, J, MD, FRCPC “How Breast milk Protects Newborns” Shulman et al “Early feeding, feeding tolerance and lactase activity in preterm infants.” J Pediatr 1998; 133:645-649Catassi et al “Intestinal permeability changes coloring the first month; effect of natural versus artificial feeding.” J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1995; 21: 383-386.
- Cow’s milk is an intestinal irritant.
According to Dr. William Sears, MD, cow’s milk should not be given as a beverage to infants under one year of age. “Cow’s milk can irritate the lining of your infant’s intestines, causing tiny losses of iron. This can contribute to iron-deficiency anemia.” The Baby Book – Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two 1992, 2003 William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN, Little, Brown & Co.
- Formula-fed babies are more at risk for obesity in later life.
A study of 32200 Scottish 3 year old children found that the incidence of obesity was significantly lower among those who had been breastfed, after adjusting for socioeconomic status, birthweight and gender. Another study, this one of Czech children, found that the even older children (6 -14) who had been breastfed were less at risk for overweight/obesity. Additionally, a German study found that 4.5% of formula fed children are obese, while only 0.8% of breastfed children have this condition. Armstrong, J et al, “Breastfeeding and lowering the risk of childhood obesity.” Lancet 2002, 349: 2003-4Toschke, A.M. et al, “Overweight and obesity in 6 to 14-year-old Czech children in 1991: protective effect of breast-feeding”, J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2002 Dec; 141(6):764-9von Kries, R et al, “Breastfeeding and obesity: cross sectional study.” BMJ 1999; 319:147-150 (July 17).
- Breastfed babies have less chance of cardiopulmonary distress while feeding.
Bottle-fed babies are at increased risk of cardiopulmonary disturbances, including prolonged airway closure and obstructed respiratory breaths due to repeated swallowing. According to one study, infants can experience oxygen saturation below 90% when bottle feeding. Nine of 50 healthy term infants in one study experienced bradycardia during bottle feeding. Six of these episodes were preceded by apnea, three showed hypopnea (marked reduction in ventilation) and one had certral apnea (no respiratory efforts). Koenig HS, Davies Am, Thach BT. “Coordination of breathing, sucking and swallowing during bottle feedings in human infants.” J Appl Physiol 69: 1629: 1623-1629, 1990.Matthew O, Clark ML, Ponske MH. Apnea, bradycardia, and cyanosis during oral feeding in term neonates.” J Pediatr 106:857, 1985.
- Breastfed babies have less chance of developing ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulceration and inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. A number of studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to develop this disease. Rigas A, Rigas B, Blassman M, et al. “Breastfeeding and maternal smoking in the etiology of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in childhood.” Ann Epidemiol. 1993;3387-392
- Breast milk protects against hemophilus b. bacteria.
Hemophilus influenzae type b is a bacteria which can grow in the respiratory tract with no symptoms, but may spread into the throat, ears or blood and cause grave illness. Breastfed babies are much less vulnerable to such an overgrowth. . Interestingly, a 1999 Swedish study found that even 5 – 10 years later, children who had been breastfed were much less likely to contract hemophilus b. Silfverdal et al, “Protective effects of breastfeeding: an ecological study of haemophilus influenzae (HI) meningitis and breastfeeding in a Swedish population.” Int J Epidem 1999; 28:152-6Cochi SL, Fleming DW, Hightower AW, et al. “Primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b disease: a population-based assessment of risk factors.” J Pediatr. 1986;108:997-896Istre GR, Conner JS, Broome CV, et al. “Risk factors for primary invasive Haemophilus influenzae disease: increased risk from day care attendance and school-aged household members.” J Pediatr. 1985;106:190-198.
- Breastfed babies require shorter pre- and post-surgical fasting.
Breastfeeding may continue until three hours before arrival time at the hospital in healthy children having elective surgery.
Schreiner, M.S. “Preoperative and Postoperative fasting in children.” Ped Clinics N Amer 41 (1); 111-20 (1994).
- Breastfeeding results in less sick days for parents.
Since breastfed babies are statistically healthier than their formula fed peers, the parents of breastfed babies spend less time out of work taking care of sick children. (Kaiser Permanente: Internal research to determine benefits of sponsoring an official lactation program – 1995).
- Breastfeeding enhances vaccine effectiveness.
Breastfed infants showed better serum and secretory responses to oral and parenteral vaccines than those formula-fed. Han-Zoric, M., “Antibody responses to parenteral and oral vaccines are impaired by conventional and low protein formulas as compared to breastfeeding.” Acta Paediatr Scand 1990; 79:1137-42.
- Breastfed babies have less chance of developing necrotizing enterocolitis.
This disease occurs most commonly in premature or sick newborns. In NEC the lining of the intestinal wall dies and sloughs off. Premature infants fed their own mother’s milk or banked human milk are one sixth to one tenth as likely to develop NEC. One Australian study has estimated that 83% of NEC cases may be attributed to lack of breastfeeding.
Updegrove, K “Necrotizing Enteroclolitis: The evidence for use of human milk in prevention and treatment.” J Hum Lact 2004; 20: 335-339. Drane, D. “Breastfeeding and formula feeding: a preliminary economic analysis” Breastfeed Rev 1997; 5:7-15Convert RF, Barman N, Comanico RS, et al. “Prior enteral nutrition with human milk protects against intestinal perforation in infants who develop necrotizing enterocolitis.” Pediatr Res. 1995; 37:305A. AbstractLucas A, Cole TJ. “Breast milk and neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis.” Lancet. 1990; 336:519-1523
- Breastfeeding contributes to optimal child spacing.
First of all, please know that it is certainly possible to get pregnant while you are still breastfeeding. However, many breastfeeding women do not ovulate for the first 6 months or so following the birth of a new baby. This is true only for those who are exclusively breastfeeding (no supplements or solid food), and have not yet gotten their periods back following childbirth. Night nursing encourages longer amenorrhoea (periodlessness). If you really don’t want to get pregnant again, use some back up birth control even if you haven’t gotten your period again. Unless you are carefully following a natural family planning program, you will have no way of knowing when your first ovulation will occur, and by the time you figure it out you may be expecting! Still, generally speaking, breastfeeding contributes to optimum child spacing. Kennedy KI, Visness CM. “Contraceptive efficacy of lactational amenorrhoea.” Lancet. 1992; 339:227-230 Labbock MH, Colie C. “Puerperium and breast-feeding.” Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 1992; 4:818-825.
- Breastfeeding is easier than using formula.
After the initial start up period, breastfeeding is very easy. All you have to do is raise your shirt and let the little one latch on. No shopping for formula, bottles, and other supplies. No mixing, heating, refrigerating and cleaning up of formula. If you sleep with your baby, or sleep the baby next to your bed, you can forget about all the disturbing nighttime rituals associated with formula use. All you have to do is roll over, let the baby latch on, and go back to sleep!
- Breast milk is free.
Any way you look at it, you’ll spend a lot more money if you choose to formula feed. The added calories a nursing mother must take in are a negligible expense, and nursing clothes are optional. If you need to pump, excellent pumps are available for between $50 and $225. A good pump can be used for more than one child, so they are really an investment. Do be sure to buy a pump manufactured by a company specializing in their manufacture. Beware of pumps made by formula companies. Many woman report these pumps to be inefficient at best, and painful at worst.
- Formula is expensive.
It presently costs upward of $1,200 dollars per year to formula feed an infant in the United States. If you factor in the added medical cost you are statistically likely to incur, that brings the cost up to around $2,500 per year. If your baby happens to require a hypo-allergenic formula, you will have to pay considerably more.
- Formula costs the government (and taxpayers) millions of dollars.
The U.S. government spends more than $2,665,715 a year to provide formula for the children of non-breastfeeding mothers participating in the WIC supplemental food program. Of course, this doesn’t take into consideration the additional costs of caring for those infants who are statistically much more likely to get sick. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, higher breastfeeding rates could reduce US health care costs by $3.6 billion per year. Riordan, J “The cost of not breastfeeding: a commentary” J Hum Lact 1997; 13(2) 93-97A.A.P. Breastfeeding Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human MilkPediatrics Vol. 115 No. 2 February 2005aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496
- Breastfed babies require fewer doctor visits.
Since breastfed babies are statistically healthier, they see the doctor less often. (Kaiser Permanente: Internal research to determine benefits of sponsoring an official lactation program – 1995).
- Breast milk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein.
Formula companies are constantly adjusting these proportions looking for the best composition. The reality is that a mother’s milk composition changes from feeding to feeding depending on the needs of her child. No formula can do that! According to the American Dietetic Association “human milk provides optimal nutrition to the infant with its dynamic composition and the appropriate balance of nutrients provided in easily digestible and bioavailable forms.” J Am Diet Assoc 2001; 101: 1213
- Breast milk acts like a natural tranquilizer for baby.
Mother’s milk contains chemicals that seem to work like “knock-out drops” for tired babies. Even if baby doesn’t fall asleep, he/she will certainly calm down and become more agreeable. If you choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood, you may find that the “terrible twos” never materialize.
- Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquilizer for mom.
Nursing mothers often joke about falling asleep on the job. The sleep inducing qualities of nursing a baby are remarkable. In fact, some new mothers have to be careful to hold a nursing baby in such a way that they will not drop the child when they inevitably nod off. Nursing in bed is a great solution. Even pumping at work can be a great way to calm down and get refocused during a stressful day. All this relaxation is caused by the hormone oxytocin, which is released each time a mother breastfeeds. It decreases blood pressure and calms the mother. Interestingly, one study found that there were far fewer incidences of domestic violence and sexual abuse in breastfeeding families. The Breastfeeding Book, Copyright 2000, M. Sears, R.N. and Wm. Sears, M.D.. Little Brown and Co.Acheston, L, “Family violence and breastfeeding” Arch. Fam. Med. 1995, 4:650-652.
- Breast milk tastes better than formula.
Human breast milk is sweet and light. Formula is pasty and bland. Which would you rather eat?
- Breastfed babies are healthier over-all.
Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest HMOs in the U.S. has conducted internal research to determine the value of the company lactation support program. This research found that breastfed babies had many health advantages over formula-fed babies, including better overall health. (Kaiser Permanente: Internal research to determine benefits of sponsoring an official lactation program – 1995).
- Breastfed babies are less likely to die before their third birthday.
Not only are breastfed babies less likely to contract life-threatening diseases, they are better able to combat any illnesses that may develop. Van Den Bogaard, C. “Relationship Between Breast Feeding in Early Childhood and Morbidity in a general Population.”Fan Med, 1991; 23:510-515.
- Breast milk is always the right temperature.
Severe burns to babies’ mouths have occurred due to improper heating of artificial milks. Even when it’s done correctly, it’s never fun to try to warm a bottle for a fussing baby.
- Breastfeeding mothers spend less time and money on doctor visits.
In 1995 the Kaiser-Permanente Health Maintenance Organization in North Carolina found that formula-fed babies averaged over $1,400 more per year in additional health care costs than breastfed infants. (Kaiser Permanente: Internal research to determine benefits of sponsoring an official lactation program – 1995)
- Fewer waste packaging products.
No wrappers, canisters, disposable bottles etc…
“If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year’s worth of formula. If every mother in Great Britain breastfed, 3000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year. But formula is not the only problem. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not-recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal.” “Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk” D. Michels
- No bottles to tote.
Unless you’re pumping and transporting the milk for later. Even then there are fewer bottles to deal with.
- Breastfeeding may lower the risk of developing high cholesterol.
A recent British study found that breastfeeding seems to be associated with lower levels of damaging cholesterol in adulthood. The authors concluded that breastfeeding may have long-term benefits for cardiovascular health. Owen CG et al (2002) “Infant Feeding and Blood Cholesterol: A Study in Adolescents and a Systemic Review” Pediatrics 110: 597-608
- No need to refrigerate.
Of course, breast milk stays fresh because it’s made on demand. Even pumped breast milk keeps for a long time outside of the fridge. Medela Guidelines for Storing Breastmilk
- Cow’s milk is designed for baby cows, while human milk is designed for human babies.
Human milk contains completely different proportions of protein, fat, carbohydrates. Cows milk is designed to help put on weight quickly, grow amazingly fast, and develop only as much brain power as a cow needs. After all, a calf is able to stand and walk on the day it is born. The natural hormones in cows milk are geared toward cows, not humans. The fact that human beings can even partially digest the milk of another species in sort of amazing when you stop to think about it. Human milk is designed for baby humans. It’s designed to build brains, and to foster gradual physical growth.
- Breast milk aids in the proper development of a baby’s gastrointestinal tract.
“The cells of the mature intestinal lining are tightly packed together so that potential allergens cannot seep through into the bloodstream. But in the early months, the lining of a baby’s immature intestines is more like a sieve, allowing potential allergens to get through, which sets the infant…up for allergies and infections. Breast milk contains a special protein called imunoglobulin A (IgA), which acts like a protective sealant in the digestive tract…Breast milk also contains a special substance called epidermal growth factor (EGF), which promotes the growth of the cells lining baby’s intestines as well as other surface cells, such as the cells of the skin.” The Breastfeeding Book, Copyright 2000, M. Sears, R.N. and Wm. Sears, M.D.. Little Brown and Co.Also see La Leche League’s FAQ’s
- Breast milk provides natural pain relief for baby.
Breast milk actually contains chemicals that suppress pain (endorphins). Aside from this, the comfort a baby derives from being held close and suckling is remarkable. Many a bruise or scrape has been soothed away almost instantly by a few moments of nursing. If you choose to have your child vaccinated, it is a good idea to nurse immediately after he/she receives a vaccination. This soothes the hurt, as well as enhancing the vaccine’s effectiveness.
- Human milk is the perfect food for a sick infant.
When a formula fed baby gets a gastrointestinal ailment they are usually put on an artificial electrolyte solution because formula is too hard for them to digest. Breast milk, however, is easily digested, and soothing to the intestines, so there is no need for artificial and expensive electrolyte solutions. If a baby gets a respiratory illness, formula may cause even more mucus. In contrast, breast milk contains antibodies to these ailments, as well as being highly digestible and not contributing to excess mucous formation.
- A breastfeeding Mom gets more sleep.
Especially if she sleeps with baby, but even if she doesn’t. No bottles to prepare and warm. Less time comforting a crying baby suffering from gas and allergies.
- Babies that nurse are happier at night.
A baby that gets its night time needs met quickly is more likely to get right back to sleep than a baby who has to wait for a bottle while crying and swallowing air.
- More sleep for dad.
Again, even if he helps with baby burping, diapering, and baby toting, there are no bottles to deal with. Also, breastfed babies tend to need much less burping after the first few months.
- Less equipment to maintain and store.
Those bottles, measuring devices, sterilizing equipment and other gadgets take up shelf space and they all require cleaning.
- Less equipment to buy.
Unless you pump. Even if you do have to buy a pump and the basic bottle kit, the savings in cost of formula and additional medical attention make breastfeeding financially well worth trying.
- Breastmilk has never been recalled due to manufacturing problems.
Formula has been, sometimes after causing injury or death. There were 22 “significant” recalls of formula including 7 potentially life threatening situations. Babbit, V, “FDA Recalls Baby Formula, 1998”, Breastfeeding.com, Inc.
- Fresh breast milk is never contaminated with bacteria.
In fact, it has antibacterial properties.
- No need to worry about which brand is better.
Each artificial breast milk formula is different from all its competitors, but none of them come close to duplicating the real thing. It can be very stressful for formula feeding mothers to try to determine which brand is the best of the lot. No matter which formula is used “it is increasingly apparent that infant formula can never duplicate human milk. Human milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, immunoglobulins and compounds with unique structures that cannot be replicated in infant formula.” (Quoted from FDA pediatric-nutrition researchers at Abbott Laboratories, writing in March, 1994 issue of Endocrine Regulations.)
- No need to worry about adding contaminated water.
Even in regions of the world where bacterial contamination is not an issue, water can contain dangerous elements like arsenic, lead and aluminum. These contaminants can become concentrated if water is boiled to sterilize it before being added to formula.
- Breastfed babies get fewer stomach infections.
According to a study of 17,046 mother and infant pairs in Belarus, breastfed infants had a significant reduction in risk of gastro-intestinal infection.Kramer et al “Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial” JAMA 2001; 285: 413-420.
- Facilitates proper dental and jaw development.
Nursing is good for a baby’s tooth and jaw development. Babies drinking from the human breast have to use as much as 60 times more energy to get food than do those drinking from a bottle. Obviously, a nursing baby’s jaws are receiving much more exercise as she pulls her mother’s milk into her mouth. Apparently, this constant gentle pulling assists the growth of well-formed jaws and straight, healthy teeth. Among breastfed infants, the longer the duration of nursing, the less chance of dental malocclusion. The Complete Book Of Breastfeeding M.S. Eiger. MD, S. Wendkos Olds, Copyright 1972, 1987 Comstock, Inc., Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 708 Broadway, New York, NY 10003. Labbok, M.H. “Does Breastfeeding Protect against Malocclusion? An Analysis of the 1981 Child Health Supplement to the National Health Interview Survey” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1987
- Breastfed babies have less tooth decay.
Breast milk contains bacteria fighting cells that may help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Furthermore, bottle-fed babies “are at increased risk for baby bottle caries, a destructive dental condition which occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing formula, milk, juice or other fluids high in carbohydrates. Extensive dental repair may be required at a cost of thousands of dollars.” Furthermore, breast milk contains bacteria fighting cells that may help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Loesche WJ, “Nutrition and dental decay in infants.” Am J Clin Nutr 41; 423-435, 1985
- Less money spent on corrective orthodontia.
The longer you breastfeed, the more likely the babies teeth will come in properly. If the teeth come in straight, there’s no need to fix them. Leite ICG, et al. Associação entre aleitamento materno e hábitos de sucção não-nutritivos. Revista da Associação Paulista dos Cirurgiões Dentistas1999;53:151-5Paunio P, Rautava P, Sillanpaa M. The Finnish Family Competence Study: the effects of living conditions on sucking habits in 3-year-old Finnish children and the association between these habits and dental occlusion. Acta Odontol Scand 1993;51:23-9.Degano MP, Degano RA. Breastfeeding and oral health. A primer for the dental practitioner. NY State Dent J 1993;59:30-2.
- Better speech development.
Tongue thrust problems often develop among bottle-fed babies as they try to slow down the flow of milk coming from an artificial nipple. This can lead to speech problems later on. “Early weaning may lead to the interruption of proper oral motor development provoking alterations to the posture and strength of the speech organs and harming the functions of chewing, swallowing, breathing, and articulation of speech sounds. The lack of physiological sucking on the breast may interfere in the oral motor development, possibly causing malocclusion, oral respiration and oral motor disorders.” Neiva et al, J Pediatr (Rio J) 2003;79(1):07-12
- Less chance of baby getting eczema.
A number of studies have indicated that breastfed babies are less likely to develop eczema – an itchy skin rash. Kramer, M et al “Promotion of breastfeeding Intervention Trial” JAMA 2001; 285: 413-420Saarinen UM, Kajosaari M “Breastfeeding as prophylaxis against atopic disease: prospective follow-up study until 17 years of age.” Lancet. 1995; 346:1065-69.
- Breastfed babies have great skin.
You don’t have to refer to the many studies showing that breastfed babies have less eczema and fewer rashes. Check out the skin of a breastfed baby and see what you think.
- Less spit-up.
Breastfed newborns demonstrate gastroesophageal reflux (spit-up) episodes of significantly shorter duration that formula fed newborns. Heacock, H.J. “Influence of Breast vs. Formula Milk in Physiologic Gastroesophageal Reflux in Healthy Newborn Infants” Jour. Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 1992 January; 14(1): 41-6
- Breastfeeding is better for premature infants.
A recent Israeli study confirmed that the more breast milk premature babies receive, the more responsive they are. Infants receiving substantial amounts of breast milk showed better neurobehavioral profiles – in particular motor maturity. “These infants were also more alert during social interactions, and their mothers provided more affectionate touch. In addition to its nutritional value, breast milk may be related to improved maternal mood and interactive behaviors, thereby indirectly contributing to development in premature infants.” Eidelman et al, Dev Psychobiol, 2003 Sept; 43(2): 109-19
- Breast milk contains no genetically engineered materials.
Most consumers are completely unaware of how much genetically engineered food they are consuming because the U.S. government does not require this food to be labeled as such. Genetic ID, a company in Fairfield, Iowa, tested four soy-based baby formulas for genetically engineered ingredients. All four, Carnation Alsoy, Similac Neocare, Isomil and Enfamil Prosobee, tested positive. (See “Biotechnology’s Bounty”, M.Burros, N.Y. Times 05/21/97
- Breast Milk contains no synthetic growth hormones.
Since many cows in the U.S. are now routinely ingesting synthetic growth hormones to artificially increase their milk production, it stands to reason that these hormones are also getting into the U.S. formulas.
- Lack of breastfeeding associated with multiple sclerosis in later life.
Although thought to be multifactorial in origin, and without a clearly defined etiology, lack of breastfeeding does appear to be associated with an increased incidence of multiple sclerosis. Pisacana A, et al “Breastfeedig and multiple sclerosis” BMJ 1994; 308: 1411-2 (28 May)
- Less chance of inguinal hernia.
The inguinal canal brings down the spermatic cord and certain vessels to the groin area. A hernia is a defect in the opening where these things pass through from the abdomen to the groin because the canal opening gets too big or tears off. The hernia allows abdominal contents to get down into the groin area. Breastfeeding is protective against inguinal hernias. For unknown reasons breastfed babies experience significantly fewer of them. Human milk contains gonadotropin releasing hormone, which may affect the development of a baby boy’s testicles.Pisacane, A. “Breast-feeding and inguinal hernia” Journal of Pediatrics 1995: Vol 127, No. 1, pp 109-111
- Better cognitive development for low birth weight babies.
In 771 low birth weight infants, babies whose mothers chose to provide breast milk had an 8 point advantage in mean Bayley’s mental developmental index over infants of mothers choosing not to do so. Morley, R., “Mothers Choice to provide Breast Milk and Developmental Outcome”. Arch Dis Child, 1988
- Better social development.
The psychomotor and social development of breastfed babies clearly differs from that of bottle fed ones and leads at the age of 12 months to significant advantages of the psychomotor and social capabilities. Baumgartner, C.,”Psychomotor and Social Development of Breast Fed and Bottle Fed babies During their First year of Life”. Acta Paediatrica Hungarica, 1984
- Decreased risk of baby developing urinary tract infections.
Breastfed babies have fewer urinary tract infections than their bottle fed peers. According to one study, infants who were exclusively bottle fed were more than five times as likely to develop urinary tract infections compared with those that were breastfed. Pisacane A, et al “Breastfeeding and Urinary Tract Infection” J Pediatr 1992 120: 87-89
- Suckling optimizes hand-to-eye coordination.
It isn’t completely clear why, but breastfed infants are able to see and manipulate objects quicker than their formula fed counterparts. This is one of the many benefits of breastfeeding that are still being explored. Baumgartner, C., “Psychomotor and Social Development of Breast Fed and Bottle Fed babies During their First year of Life”. Acta Paediatrica Hungarica1984; 25(4): 409-17
- Breastfeeding protects mothers against anemia (iron deficiency).
Since many exclusively breastfeeding mothers do not begin to menstruate for a year or longer their iron stores are not depleted by monthly bleeding during this time.
- Breastfeeding mothers spend less money on menstrual supplies.
Many breastfeeding moms do not begin to menstruate again until 14 or more months after giving birth. That means for 14 months, many nursing moms don’t have to buy tampons, sanitary napkins, and cramp relief medication! “Multiply this by the four million US births each year to see that over one billion sanitary products annually could be kept out of our nation’s landfills and sewers. To compound the scenario, because breast milk is absorbed by babies more efficiently, breastfed babies excrete less and thus require fewer diaper changes than formula-fed babies.” “Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk” D. Michels, Pub. various periodicals, available on Internet at members.aol.com/diamichels/greenbm.htm
- Breastfeeding is a self-confidence booster for mom.
There is nothing more amazing than looking at a plump six month old baby and knowing that the only nutrition this happy little creature has received has come from your own body.
- Breast milk may help combat eye infections.
Breast milk contains natural antibiotic qualities, and many mothers swear that a squirt in the irritated eye of their baby has cleared up the problem in short order.
- Breastfeeding may lower blood pressure in childhood.
A 2004 study of 4763 British children showed that 7.5 years later, those who were breastfed as infants had lower blood pressure compared with those who were never breastfed. In another new study from the U.K., a small but important reduction in adult diastolic blood pressure is associated with having been breastfed as an infant. Martin RM et al (2004). “Does Breast-Feeding in Infancy Lower Blood Pressure in Childhood?” The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Circulation 109Martin RM et al (2005). “Breastfeeding in Infancy and Blood Pressure in Later Life: Systematic Review and Meta Analysis.” American Journal of Epidemiology 2005 161 (1): 15-26.
- No worry about latest ingredient discovered to be missing from formula.
There is no formula that can duplicate human milk because, as the FDA recognized in a recent statement “…the exact chemical makeup of breast milk is still unknown.” “Formula-fed infants depend on products which can be quite different from each other, but which are continually being found deficient in essential nutrients… These nutrients are then added, usually after damage has occurred in infants or overwhelming market pressure forces the issue.” M. Walker, R.N., International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, The Journal Of Human Lactation, Sept 1993.
- Much nicer diaper changes.
The bowel movements of breastfed babies smell mild and inoffensive. The same can not be said about those of formula fed babies. Try changing a few formula fed babies if you are uncertain about wanting to try breastfeeding!
- Breastfed babies smell fantastic.
No scientific study needed here. There is something almost magical about the scent of your own breastfed baby, whether you’re the mother or father involved. Try it, you’ll like it!
- It’s what breasts were designed for!