Monday, August 10, 2009

Breast is Best

August is World Breastfeeding Month and August 1 - 7 was World Breastfeeding Week. In honor of WBW, Baby Blues compiled a selection of breastfeeding strips. If you haven't seen them, you should. They're hilarious!

I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I wanted to remind you why breastfeeding is best for mother and baby. I think most of us breastfeed because it's the natural thing to do - cradle a newborn in your arms and he'll look for a breast - but some people need a little more persuasion. If you or someone you know is straddling the fence on the breast/bottle decision, here are some things to keep in mind. Or if you're having one of those days when you're tempted to throw in the towel (baby's biting, you're tired of soggy nursing pads, etc.), remember that your baby nurses for a short time in the scope of his life. It'll be over all too soon.

Benefits for mother
  • helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding
  • helps mom lose weight
  • lessens postpartum depression
  • more rest than formula feeding moms because you can nurse while sleeping
  • lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer
  • save thousands of dollars a year since you don't have to buy formula
  • protects against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life
  • reduced risk of mortality for women with rheumatoid arthritis has been associated with total time of lactation
  • breastfed babies are sick less, reducing healthcare costs in doctor office visits, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and hospitalizations
  • breastfeeding is more convenient - the milk is always available, sterile, and the right temperature
  • during times of disaster, you don't have to worry about finding formula

Benefits for baby
  • antibodies in breast milk offer protection from germs, illness, and even SIDS
  • lower risk for ear infections, stomach viruses, diarrhea, respiratory infections, asthma, diabetes, leukemia, necrotizing enterocolitis, and other diseases
  • lower risk for childhood obesity
  • reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets
  • breastfeeding promotes facial structure development, enhanced speech, and straighter teeth and reduces risk of tooth decay
  • enhanced vision
  • higher IQ's and improved brain and nervous system development
  • reduced risk of heart disease later in life
  • increased bone density
  • are hospitalized 10 times less than formula fed infants in the first year of life

Benefits for the environment and society

  • reduced cost of healthcare by promoting healthier children and mothers.
  • reduced insurance premiums for both parents and employers
  • reduced global pollution by decreasing the use of resources and energy required to produce, process, package, distribute, promote and dispose of materials created by the manufacture and use of artificial baby milk
  • reduced tax burden on communities and government to ensure children are properly fed
  • reduced absenteeism in the workplace due to children's illnesses

Find these and other benefits at the following sites. Or simply google "benefits of breastfeeding."

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