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IM&PC Cares: Benefits of Breastfeeding

Dr. Lauren Simpson Breastfeeding benefits

Dr. Lauren Simpson, a pediatrician at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic of New Albany

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. There are many reasons why breastfeeding is best for your baby:

Benefits for baby:

Human milk provides essentially all the nutrients your baby needs to be healthy, as well as things that boost baby’s immune system. These substances protect your baby against a number of diseases and infections not only while baby is breastfeeding, but potentially even later in life:

  • Breastfeeding decreases the risk of ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and sepsis.
  • Breastfed babies usually have a lower risk of milk allergy, eczema, and wheezing early in life if they were exclusively breastfed for at least four months.
  • Children who breastfeed for more than six months are less likely to develop childhood leukemia and lymphoma than those who receive formula.
  • There is a reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) among babies who breastfeed.
  • Recent research even indicates that breastfed infants may even have reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases later in life.

Benefits for mother:

  • Special bonding time for both mommy and baby
  • Quicker and easier recovery from childbirth. The hormone released during breastfeeding acts to return the uterus to its regular size more quickly and can reduce postpartum bleeding.
  • Reduced rates of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer later in life
  • Breastfeeding appears to reduce the mother’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of the mom’s regular cycle, which can help serve as a “natural birth control.” (Although not a completely reliable form of birth control!)
  • Weight loss after pregnancy can be enhanced by breastfeeding!

Practical benefits:

  • Human milk is much less expensive than formula, which can cost an estimated $1,000 a year!
  • Breastfeeding during the night is much easier and faster than getting up to fix or warm a bottle of formula.
  • It is convenient to be able to go places with the baby without having to carry a bag full of bottles, formula, etc.
  • Breastfeeding is also good for the environment, since there are no bottles to wash or formula cans to throw away.

By: Dr Lauren Simpson, MD

Dr. Lauren Simpson is a Pediatrician. Dr Simpson is a native of Hickory Flat, MS and joined IM&PC in 2015. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University. She received her medical degree from the University of Mississippi and completed her residency in Pediatrics at Arkansas Chidlren’s Hospital in Little Rock, AR.

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