By Fang L.K(RN)

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for mothers and babies. The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months after birth, and breast-feeding in combination with solid foods until at least age 1.

Benefits for baby:

• Breast milk is the ideal food that contains all the nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and brain development.
• Breast milk is more easily digest and absorb.
• Breast milk contains antibodies that boost your baby’s immune system and help to protect your baby from many common childhood infections such as diarrhoea, cough and cold and ear infection.
• Breastfeeding reduce risk of developing allergies such as colic, vomiting, eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma.
• Breastfeeding reduce risk of childhood obesity and weight-related problems e.g. diabetes.
• Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood.
• Breastfeeding can build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.

Benefits for mother:

• Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help to return to your pre-pregnancy weight faster.
• Breastfeeding causes secretion of hormone which acts on the uterus, causing it to contract and return more quickly to normal size. This contraction also prevents excessive bleeding after delivery.
• Breastfeeding reduce risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease after menopause.
• Breastfeeding is a method of birth control, helps to space pregnancies.
• Breastfeeding is convenient; breast milk is always fresh, at the right temperature, and ready to feed!
• Saves money by not having to buy infant formula and feeding equipment.

Breastfeeding allows you to make the food that is perfect for your baby. Your milk gives your baby the healthy start that will last a lifetime.

Reference:
1. http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
2. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics
3. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Why-Breastfeed.aspx
4. http://mpaweb.org.my/file_dir/3353593764c285a3d971f4.pdf
5. http://www.nutriweb.org.my

*This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a health care provider. Like any printed material, it may become out-of-date over time.

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