Breast milk is the ultimate convenience food. It's inexpensive and readily available in the perfect feeding vessel at just the right temperature.
The World Health Organization recommends early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and continued breastfeeding, with the introduction of solid food, for two years or beyond. Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits for both mothers and babies.
Here are 10 great reasons to breastfeed:
- Breast milk contains the right amount of nutrients to help baby grow. As the baby grows, breast milk changes to meet his/her needs.
- Breastfed babies may score higher on IQ tests.
- Breast milk is safe and always ready. Plus, it's free!
- Moms start to produce breast milk during pregnancy. After the baby is born, mom makes more milk. The more the baby breastfeeds, the more milk mom makes.
- Breastfeeding is good for mom. She has less risk of developing osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and she loses pregnancy weight quicker.
- Breast milk also contains antibodies and other immune factors that help protect against infections and disease. These benefits last a lifetime.
- Breastfeeding helps form an intimate loving relationship that strengthens the bond between mom and baby.
- Breast milk continues to provide protection and nutrition for older babies and toddlers.
- Working moms can still offer breast milk to their babies by hand expressing or pumping milk for other caregivers to feed baby when they are away.
- Breastfeeding is good for the environment. There is no packaging, pollution or waste.
Check out this Health File for more information on the benefits of breastfeeding.