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Benefits of BreastfeedingMother's milk is the best food possible for the newborn baby. Breast milk works as an all in one nutritional supplement. Breast milk works as a thirst quencher, medication, food supplement and for the mother it works as a weight loss program with no equal. Although, there are formulas that can be used for replacing breast milk, they do not have the same supplements as the natural milk from the mother. The American Academy of Pediatrics "...recommends that babies be breast-fed for six to 12 months. The only acceptable alternative to breast milk is infant formula." (Williams, 1995). Breast milk is a perfect combination of nutrients and antibodies for an infant's fast growing system. Breast milk is made up of fatty acids, water, lactose, and antibodies. The antibodies in breast milk help the baby fight off many illnesses within their environments as well as help them build their own immune systems. Without these antibodies babies tend to get sicker more often, and it can take the babies longer to recover from these illnesses. Since the food is coming directly from the breast rather then a bottle, there is less likely a chance of bacterial infection that can come from a bottle not having been properly sterilized.
One of the great benefits of breastfeeding for mothers is the ability to loose the extra weight gained quicker. The mothers body uses alot of the stored food in the body and converts it to milk for the infant. Breastfeeding also helps stimulates the uterus to contract back to its original size (Williams, 1995). This quick recovery, at the least will help the nursing mother with her self esteem. Breastfeeding also brings the infant closer to the mother. Through breastfeeding, the mother and the child can build a very strong emotional bond.
New born infant's sight is only between 12 to 15 inches. When a baby is breastfeeding, the baby will be able see his or her mothers face from that distance, as well as get accustomed to the smell of the mother. Fathers might be a little jealous at this stage, because there seems to be no need for them at this time. "One study... showed that the babies who received no breast milk had IQS 8 points lower on average than those who received breast milk." (Dremer, 1997, para. 6)One other great benefit of breastfeeding is lowering the cost of everything. Although, the mother will be eating more compared to her normal pre-pregnancy stage, the cost of purchasing extra food for the mother versus buying formula is obvious. Formula tends to be extremely expensive without any of the extra benefits of real human milk.
On top of the formula cost, a baby that feeds from breast milk will less likely get sick. This will mean less medical bills.There are occasions where a mother will not be able to breastfeed the baby. Those are very rare but they do happen. As an example, HIV is one of the very few diseases that can be found in breast milk. If breast milk cannot be used, then formula is one of the better solutions. Formulas were created by studying the makeup of breast milk.
Another way of finding the right nutrition for the infants has been through donor milk programs. There are some human milk banks available for individuals who cannot breastfeed their babies. Although this is not a cost effective way of feeding a baby, it is probably the next best thing compared to the biological mothers milk. Donor milk costs approximatly 3 dollars an ounce, which makes it cost prohobitive to most people, but they do say that they will not turn away any baby in need, no matter what. (NWHIC, 2003)ReferencesDermer, A. MD, Montgomery, A.
MD, Breastfeeding: Good For Babies, Mothers, And The Planet Retrieved March 30, 2005 from medicalreporter.health.orgThe National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC). (2003) Human Milk Banks Retrieved March 20, 2005, from www.4woman.govWilliams R.D. (1995). Breast-Feeding Best Bet for Babies FDA Consumer v29 i8 October, 1995. Retrieved March 20, 2005 from www.fda.gov.
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