Benefits of Breastfeeding

Why Is breastfeeding best for babies? All parents want the best for their new babies, of course, but there's something only you alone can do for your baby that's going to be a gift to your child for the rest of his or her life. And what's that? Breastfeeding.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breast-feed babies for "at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as it is mutually desired."

When you're pregnant, of course, you eat right, take vitamins and do everything possible to make your baby healthy. Therefore, some of the medical profession are still surprised that almost one third of new mothers who can breastfeed don't, and two thirds of those that do, have stopped after five months.

Simply put, human breast milk is specifically designed for the human baby. Formula companies can come close, but they're still not perfect -- and even they concede this.

Babies digest mothers' milk more easily than formula and absorb more nutrition from it,too. And unlike the allergies babies can experience from different types of formula, they aren't allergic to their own mothers' milk.

Another benefit to breastmilk is that as the baby grows and his or her nutritional needs change, so, too, does the composition of the breastmilk. In fact, breastmilk contains over 100 ingredients that formula simply can't duplicate (although again, they try), such as fatty acids DHA and RHA, crucial for healthy eye and brain function.

At the very least, babies should get the colostrum a mother's breasts produce in the early stages of breastfeeding. This gives the baby a temporary immunity boost while his or her immune system finishes developing and kicks in to protect from disease. Then, if at all possible, you should continue for at least the first year, again, supplementing with formula and ultimately with solid food once your baby is old enough for solid food.

It's cheap, it's convenient, and hey, it's 'a bonding moment':

And lest you think breastfeeding is still too much hassle even so, think about this. Even if you only do it part of the time, you're going to save yourself a fortune on formula. And, if you're sleepy and your baby needs to be fed, you don't have to stumble to the kitchen to warm a bottle. You can simply pick your baby up, have him or her latch on, and if you wish, rest in the recliner or rocker while baby finishes eating. Chances are, though, you're not going to want to do that. Why? Because breastfeeding is also an incredible bonding moment for both mother and child. Again, even mothers who can't breastfeed will of course bond with their children, but it's just another extra special way to bond that no one else can do. And how great is that?

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"Nursing Mother, Working Mother: The Essential Guide for Breastfeeding and Staying Close to Your Baby After You Return to Work."

This is one of the best books available for a nursing/working mother. It gives practical advise, motivation and support for the mother.

Study: Breast-fed kids get better grades

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen on a new study showing breast-fed children score considerably higher academically at age 10.

Foremilk and you know what they are?

Read this eye-opening article where "Desperate breast-feeding moms reveal secrets."

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