The Top Thirteen Health Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Baby December 7, 2012 22:44
Breastfeeding is not an option for all mothers, but there is now an impressive body of evidence suggesting that those women who can breastfeed will reap substantial health benefits. Some of these apply to the development of the baby, while others influence the health of the mother. Read on to discover thirteen fascinating and profoundly important reasons why breastfeeding is a smart choice.
1) It reduces your risk of developing certain cancers:
Cancer research has shown that mothers who do not breastfeed or who only breastfeed for a short period of time (i.e. less than three months) are a shocking 11% more likely to suffer from breast cancer at some stage in their lives. Further studies have also connected breastfeeding to a reduced risk of developing ovarian and endometrial cancers.
2) It is linked to higher intelligence:
Recent studies have revealed that children who were breastfed as babies are, on average, more likely to score higher on IQ tests and more likely to get better grades in school.
3) It can help you become slimmer:
There are a couple of reasons why breastfeeding can help you to get in shape. Firstly, it burns around 500 extra calories each day, and this will help you to lose weight. Secondly, when you lactate this causes your uterus to shrink more rapidly, and the quicker your uterus returns to its normal size then the easier it is to cultivate a slimmer figure.
4) It makes your baby less likely to suffer from digestive difficulties:
Breastfeeding your baby reduces its risk of developing a range of intestinal problems, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and diarrhea. It is not entirely clear why this correlation exists, but a large body of research has established that there is a significant connection.
5) It reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis:
As a result of an overwhelming number of studies, it is now almost universally agreed that women who do not breastfeed their babies are around four times more likely to develop osteoporosis (i.e. brittle bones) in older age.
6) It boosts your baby’s immune system:
Breast milk helps to promote a strong and healthy immune system in your body, and this means that your baby is less likely to contract serious illnesses. This is because breast milk is a source of lymphocytes and macrophages, which produce antibodies that protect us from bacteria and viruses.
7) It reduces your baby’s chance of developing breast cancer:
A study conducted in the mid-nineties proved that female children who were not breastfed were as much as 25% more likely to develop some form of breast cancer during their adult lives.
8) It makes your child less likely to develop arthritis at a young age:
According to studies aimed at discovering how we might prevent arthritis, children who are breastfed appear to be around 60% less likely to develop arthritis during their childhood or teenage years.
9) It reduces your baby’s risk of suffering from diabetes:
Research conducted in Finland has found that drinking dairy products (instead of breast milk) at a young age raises the risk of ending up with type one diabetes. This is because cow’s milk antibodies are linked to a greater chance of developing diabetes.
10) It can help with insomnia:
The chemicals in breast milk can help to encourage your baby to fall asleep. This, in turn, can also help you to feel more relaxed and able to sleep.
11) It makes your child less likely to develop asthma:
Studies on respiratory health show that children who were breastfed as babies are much less likely to suffer from the wheezing and chest discomfort that are experienced by sufferers of asthma.
12) It promotes your child’s dental health:
When babies suckle in order to breastfeed, this tones and strengthens their facial muscles. Orthodontic studies show that this toning and strengthening improves jaw alignment, which in turns makes those children less likely to need braces or other orthodontic work in later life.
13) It helps to create and maintain a body between you and your baby:
When you breastfeed your baby, your endocrine system responds by releasing a hormone called oxytocin. This is the same hormone that is often called the ‘cuddle hormone’ because of its ability to increase emotional intimacy between romantic partners. In the context of breastfeeding, it improves milk ejection and promotes happy and relaxed feelings during the feeding process. In addition, babies it comforting to be cuddled, and being cradled in your arms during breastfeeding helps to soothe them.
As is obvious from these impressive health benefits, breastfeeding can boost the health of both you and your baby. However, note that you should never breastfeed if you have a serious bacterial or viral infection, and you should always speak to your doctor to make sure whether you are taking any medications that could harm your baby if they are transferred via breast milk.