Extensive medical research indicates that breastfeeding has many benefits for both babies and mothers. Even if you are able to do it for only a short time, your baby's immune system can benefit from breast milk.
BENEFITS FOR BABIES
Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. It has just the right amounts of nutrients needed for a baby's growth and development. Also, most babies find breast milk easier to digest than formula.
Breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should and tend to gain less unnecessary weight, both as infants and later in life.
Breastfed infants are statistically less likely to have common infant infections, such as ear infections, than formula-fed babies.
Breastfed babies score slightly higher on IQ tests, especially babies who were born prematurely.
BENEFITS FOR MOTHERS
Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy and get the uterus back to its original size.
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
Breastfeeding helps mothers and babies to bond. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted.