Breast milk and breastfeeding are simply the best way to provide nutrition for your infant. While formulas provide good, basic nutrition and are designed to mimic the composition of breast milk, they cannot duplicate the numerous advantages breastfeeding and human milk have for a child—benefits that can make your baby and you healthier.
Benefits for Baby
Breastfed infants gain multiple advantages from mother's milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), studies show that breastfeeding can decrease the incidence or severity of ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, allergies, and even bacterial meningitis. The longer you nurse your infant, the greater benefit your child receives. Additional studies suggest that breastfeeding may reduce your infant's risk of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, asthma, and obesity.
In addition, breast milk is easier for babies to digest. A breastfed child also experiences specialized physical contact, which facilitates close bonding with his or her mother.
Infants who are breastfed may also have a developmental advantage. Breastfed infants have scored higher on developmental or intelligence tests than those fed formula. These findings are inconclusive since women who breastfeed tend to have higher education, socioeconomic status, and older age than those who do not. Numerous published studies have confirmed that breastfeeding is better than bottle feeding.
Benefits for Moms
Breastfeeding may aid in weight loss, contraception, and in reducing the mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Additionally, there are immense psychological benefits to the mother and economic benefit to the family since breastfeeding is usually less expensive than formula feeding. Moms will also appreciate the convenience of breast milk, which is always in supply and doesn't require preparation. Nursing is even good for the environment since it doesn't require disposal of cans, boxes, bottles, and bottle liners.