Benefits of Breastfeeding

Unfortunately, not all mothers are able to breastfeed their babies, but when it is physically possible, mothers should try to breastfeed for at least 6 months. Experimental evidence suggests that, with few exceptions, human breast milk is the best source of nourishment for human infants. Experts still disagree about how long breastfeeding should continue to gain the most benefit and how much extra risk is involved in using breast milk substitutes. However, breastfeeding does benefit both mother and child physically and psychologically. Nutrients and antibodies are passed to the baby while hormones are released into the mother’s body. The bond between baby and mother can also be strengthened during breastfeeding.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Breast milk is highly nutritious.
  • The baby has a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • The baby has a lower risk of many other diseases.
  • Suckling encourages the development of teeth and speech.
  • Breast milk contains amino acids required for brain and nerve development.
  • Breastfeeding helps mothers return to their pre pregnancy weight.
  • Breastfeeding mothers have less risk of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer.

Protection from Diseases

A baby which has been breastfed is at lower risk of contracting the following health problems and diseases:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Breast cancer
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory infections
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Urinary tract infection

New Scientist writes about the benefits of older mothers breastfeeding:

Women who delay pregnancy past their mid-twenties may reduce their risk of breast cancer later in life by breastfeeding their children, a new study suggests.

Previous research has shown that women who have their first child in their thirties have an increased risk of breast cancer, regardless of how many children they go on to have. But the new study found this link only among older mums who did not breastfeed.

So breastfeeding is especially important for older mothers.