Benefits of breastfeeding are unique. And with ongoing research, the list of breastfeeding benefits grow longer every day.
Here’s why doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for every baby.
Breastfeeding Protects Your Baby
1. Protects against respiratory infections
Breast milk is full of immunity boosting Secretary Immunoglobulin A, Lactoferrin, Soluble CD14 and Cytokines which helps your baby fight off infections.
Exclusive breastfeeding decreases the risk of pneumonia by 72%.
Babies who are not exclusively breastfed until 6 months have 4 times greater risk of pneumonia.
2. Protects against ear and throat infections
Exclusively breastfed babies have 50% less risk of ear infections and 63% less risk of cold and throat infections.
3. Protects against diarrhea
Breast milk makes a protective covering in the gut of your baby. Oligosaccharides in breast milk grow good bacteria in the baby’s gut. These good bacteria prevent growth of infectious bacteria.
So breastfed babies have 64% less risk of diarrhea.
4. Protects from allergies
Breastfed babies have 42% less risk of Asthma and Allergic Dermatitis.
Breastfeeding protects your baby from food allergies.
5. Protects from celiac disease
Babies who breastfeed at the time of gluten exposure have 52% less risk of Celiac Disease.
6. Reduces the risk of inflammatory bowel disease by 31%
7. Up to 30% less risk of obesity later in life
8. Protects from diabetes
Breastfed babies have up to 30% less risk of Type 1 Diabetes and up to 40% less risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
9. Protects against childhood cancers
Breast milk has α-lactalbumin which makes HAMLET complex in baby’s gut to kill cancer cells.
Breastfed babies have 20% less risk of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia and 15% less risk of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
10. Protects from cot death
Breastfed babies have 36% less risk of unexplained death called as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or cot death.
11. Breastfeeding Boosts Your Baby’s Intelligence
Learning power and intelligence of a child depends on parent education, home environment and many other factors – breastfeeding is one.
Babies entirely breastfed up to 6 months age can understand better, learn better and are less hyperactive.
12. Breast Milk Is The Lifeline For A Preterm Baby
Besides optimum nutrition for the growth, breast milk boosts baby’s immunity which protects against serious infections.
Platelet-activating factor-acetyl hydrolase found in breast milk protects preemies against Necrotizing Enterocolitis – a serious gut infection. Breast milk is the only proven medicine which prevents Necrotizing Enterocolitis.
Preemies getting breast milk in NICU have more brain volume and less risk of severe Retinopathy of Prematurity – a potentially blinding disease of premature babies.
Mother’s milk saves the life of her preterm baby. But if the mother of a preemie cannot give her breast milk for unexpected reasons, we feed donor mother’s milk. Human Milk Banks receive donated milk from mothers having an extra supply, process and distribute it free of cost for the treatment of sick preterms.
Learn more about Human Milk Banks.
Breastfeeding Helps Mother Stay Healthy
13. Faster recovery after delivery
Oxytocin hormone produced while breastfeeding stops postpartum bleeding and helps the uterus heal faster.
14. Reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
Breastfeeding for over 1 year decreases the risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer by 28%.
15. Less risk of type 2 diabetes
Every year of breastfeeding lowers your risk of diabetes by about 8%.
16. Less risk of rheumatoid arthritis
17. Less risk of hypertension and heart diseases
18. Breastfeeding helps mothers get in shape
By using extra 500 calories a day, breastfeeding mothers lose extra 1.4 kilograms over 6 months.
19. Breastfeeding helps avoid preterm birth
Keep breastfeeding to avoid a second pregnancy too soon. Less child spacing causes preterm delivery.
20. Breastfeeding – the key to happiness
Breastfed babies love their mothers and have less behavioral problems in childhood.
Breastfeeding can be a challenge for most first-time mothers – specially in the first few days. But no great thing comes without a challenge! With some help and positive thinking, all mothers can breastfeed. Happy breastfeeding!
- WHA Global Nutrition Targets 2025: Breastfeeding Policy Brief.
- Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.
- Impact of breast milk on IQ, brain size and white matter development.
- Breastfeeding, Cognitive and Noncognitive Development in Early Childhood: A Population Study.
- Breastfeeding, sensitivity, and attachment.
- Incidence and enteral feed antecedents of severe neonatal necrotising enterocolitis across neonatal networks in England.
- Effect of breast-feeding on weight retention at 3 and 6 months postpartum.