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Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby because it contains both nutrients and protection against diseases. It provides growth hormones that produce brain, respiratory,
and digestive system maturity. Breast milk has nutrients that are not found in formula.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration studies show or suggest that breastfed babies are generally healthier than formula-fed babies.
- have healthier immune systems
- are less likely to have ear infections, diarrhea, vomiting, pneumonia, bronchitis, influenza, meningitis and rashes
- may have a lower risk for diseases such as type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, childhood cancer, allergies and asthma
- may have a lower risk for SIDS
- are less likely to be overweight or obese later in life
- have fewer doctors' visits and hospital stays.
Any amount of breast milk gives your baby's immune system positive effects, both short- and long-term. Breast milk changes as your baby develops, making it the perfect food for growth and development. It is the only food your baby needs for the first six months.
Breastfeeding also has advantages for you:
- Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to its nonpregnant state more quickly and reduces the bleeding time after birth.
- Breastfeeding can help protect against breast and ovarian cancer.
- Breastfeeding releases hormones that help you relax and enjoy your baby.
You and your baby are partners in breastfeeding. You both are learning together. It is normal if it takes awhile for you to feel comfortable with breastfeeding.
Your baby may nurse well right from the start. Or, your baby may need more time before breastfeeding is well established. That means being a little more patient and making sure you are doing what you need to be physically comfortable during a feeding.
Getting some support and advice if you feel there is a problem can make breastfeeding go more smoothly.