CSP Spotlight: The Benefits of Breastfeeding

To breastfeed or use formula is one of the first decisions you'll make as a parent (but it definitely won't be your last). No matter which choice you decide to make, it's always worth exploring your options, and the purpose of today's post is to help you explore all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding specifically. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding gives newborns the ideal amount of proteins, vitamins, and antibodies that allow them to grow. Keep reading to see the seven top benefits of breastfeeding that every parent should know about. Some may even surprise you.

  1. It prevents illness - Breastfeeding doesn't just benefit a child's health while they are nursing—the effects carry on throughout their lives. A 2010 study found that breastfeeding prevents childhood health issues like ear infections, stomach viruses, diabetes, and leukemia.
  2. The baby weight comes off faster - Have you ever noticed that parents who carry and then breastfeed drop their baby weight much faster than those who don't? That's because when you're nursing, you're actually burning calories. "Breast milk contains 20 calories per ounce," says OB/GYN Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, a professor of pediatrics. "If you feed your baby 20 ounces a day, that's 400 calories you've swept out of your body."
  3. You'll learn to read baby's cues - Parents learn to read their little ones' cues in many ways, and one of them can be through breastfeeding. When you breastfeed, you have to rely on signs that your baby is getting enough food. This will foster interaction between parent and baby, providing a bond that you'll have way past infancy.
  4. It's convenient - When you're not pumping, breastfeeding can prove easier than other methods of feeding a new baby. Breast milk is ready to go from the source, without the need to mix or heat anything.
  5. It decreases your child's chances of obesity - Research has shown that nursing for any period of time lowers your child’s chances of adolescent or adult obesity by 15% to 30%.
  6. It fights postpartum depression - Postpartum depression affects a whopping one in seven new moms. The serious condition can leave new mothers mentally crippled and unable to care for their child. Research has shown, however, that carrying parents who breastfeed have a lower chance of getting PPD.
  7. It may make baby smarter - Although no official conclusions have been made, some believe that children who were breastfed have higher IQ scores when they grow up. The thought process is that there are fatty acids only found in breast milk that increase a child's brain function. Others think that the touch between parent and child stimulates the brain.

Community Service Programs of West Alabama (CSP), Inc.’s Head Start/Early Head Start, Child Care Partnership, and Early Intervention programs engage families and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Safe and healthy children are ready to learn and explore their world.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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