- In This Feature
- Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Breast Milk: The Perfect Food
- Protects Against Disease
- Health Benefits for Baby
- Improves Women's Health
- Quicker Weight Loss
- Reduces Obesity in Children and Teens
- Promotes Mother/Infant Bonding and Emotional Well-Being
- More Convenient/Less Expensive
- Expands Your Social Circle
- Encourages Infant/Father Bonding
Reduces Obesity in Children and Teens
The super-sizing of America's children begins long before their first Happy Meal. A recent study at Harvard Medical School shows that infant eating patterns can have a tremendous effect on a child's chances of becoming obese later in life.
After statistically adjusting the percentages for a host of socio-economic and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that "infants who were breastfed more than formula-fed or who were breastfed for longer periods had an approximately 20 percent lower risk of being overweight in the pre-teen and teen years."
Why? Because infants who breastfeed rely on their own hunger signals to modulate what they consume. Bottle-fed babies, on the other hand, have less control over how much they eat. Parents frequently over-feed their infants in an attempt to "not waste food" or "finish a bottle." Over time this can cause children to lose touch with their innate hunger cues and develop a pattern of overeating.