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Why breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is good for both mother and child. Children who breastfeed have, on average: a lowered risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); better digestion; a lowered risk of inflammatory bowel disease; increased protection from gastroenteritis; less diarrhea; fewer allergies in later life; reduced rates of asthma; a lowered risk of diabetes; a lowered risk of childhood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma; fewer ear and chest infections; fewer urinary tract infections (UTIs); higher intelligence, and; less likelihood of obesity in later life. These benefits 'increase by dose' - any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial and more is better. Breastfeeding can help the mother, both in the short and the long term. Breastfeeding: helps contract the uterus just after birth, which minimizes postpartum bleeding; reduces maternal response to stress; reduces the chance of postpartum depression; is free, readily available, requires no container, requires less equipment and preparation; reduces the likelihood of ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and breast cancer; reduces the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease; is a form of birth control; helps with loss of 'baby weight' and maintaining a healthy weight after birth; helps you bond with your baby; helps baby sleep better (less fuss when feeding at night), and; helps baby calm down in stressful situations (such as plane flights).

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About this article

Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 06 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 130 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Supporting a breastfeeding mother

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