The benefits of breastfeeding for your baby’s health are difficult to ignore. In recent years, scientific research has proven what many mothers have known for centuries: breastfeeding leads to healthier and stronger babies.

And yet, while many parents are aware of the more general benefits that breastfeeding is said to possess, few parents are aware of the more specific advantages that breastfed babies have over non-breastfed babies.

Did you know, for example, that breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood? Or that mothers who breastfeed are less susceptible to certain diseases? In this week’s article, we explore the various benefits of breastfeeding for your baby’s health and development.

Nutrition

One of the first and most obvious advantages to breastfeeding your child is that breast milk contains a wide range of nutrients and vitamins. Breast milk naturally contains a perfect balance of nutrients, vitamins, proteins and fats for your baby. Not only that, however, but babies find breast milk easier to digest than other alternatives.

Health & Development: Early Life

Alongside its nutritional qualities, breastfeeding has also been linked to a number of health and development benefits for infants. Feeding your baby breast milk, for example, is known to reduce the risk of such diseases and illnesses as:

-diarrhea and vomiting
-chest and ear infections
-coughs and colds
-obesity
-asthma and eczema
-diabetes

Not only that, but research suggests that the probability suffering from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is considerably less likely in breast-fed infants.

Health & Development: Later Years

Not only does breast milk help boost a baby’s immunity, in general, but it has also been linked – in some studies – to a number of other benefits in later life.

So what are these potential benefits?:

-Studies show that breastfed children have fewer cavities in later life than those who were not breastfed.
-Some studies suggest not only that breastfed children have higher IQ’s than their non breastfed counterparts, but that they develop fewer behavioural, developmental and psychological problems as they get older.
-Breastfeeding has been linked to a decreased likelihood of developing heart-disease in later life.
-Studies also indicate that babies who were breastfed have, on average, lower blood pressure than those who were not.

Benefits for Mothers

Alongside these numerous advantages to your baby’s overall well-being, breast feeding has also been shown to promote the well-being of mothers too. Let’s take a look at some of these potential benefits:

-Research has shown, for example, that mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop ovarian and breast cancer in later life.
-Research has also shown that breastfeeding reduces the risk of osteoporosis in mothers.
-Breastfeeding releases oxytocin in women, which will help the uterus return to its normal size after giving birth.
-Not only that, but breastfeeding – which naturally uses up 500 calories a day – can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight in no time.
-And, finally, the very act of breastfeeding itself is generally believed to increase the sense of connection between mother and child, and to reduce anxiety in the mother. This will help improve your overall emotional well-being and welfare.

 

To learn more about breastfeeding in general, see the following resources:

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