Globally, less than 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. Breast milk not only has disease fighting substances to protect your baby from illnesses, but it also is pack full of all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life, and to continue for as long as the mother and baby are willing and able. Breastfeeding is not only beneficial to your baby, but also yourself. Breastfeeding is by far the best feeding option for your baby.
When you think of feeding your baby, you have two options: breast milk or formula. I’m sure when you think of breastfeeding, you think it’s hard and painful, but in truth it is not. It is easier and more beneficial than formula in many ways. Let’s first consider the cost. One very important thing for any mother to consider is finances. After all, your little bundle of joy is going to take a lot of money to raise till 18. Statistics show that breastfeeding in the first year can save you anywhere between 1,500 to 3,000 dollars on formula. That’s one semester at a community college! A recent study by the USDA concluded that 3.6 billion dollars in medical costs could be saved if the current rate of children exclusively breastfed was raised to the recommendations of the Surgeon General. This study is a bare minimum of what could be saved. It is assumed that the actual savings is a lot higher since this study only conducted reports on 3 childhood illnesses. Since breastfeeding provides your baby with immune protection, you could potentially save thousands on medical bills, and you cannot forget all the over the counter meds you could spare.
Breastfeeding has a long list of health benefits as well. Breast milk protects your baby from illnesses, from developing allergies; it lowers your baby’s risk of SIDS, as well as protects your child from obesity. You might be wondering why you can’t receive the same benefits from formula and here’s why. It’s impossible for formula to compare to the complexity of breast milk. Your milk is custom-made just for your baby. Your body responds to pathogens that you are exposed to, and actually creates a substance in your milk to protect your baby from exposure. Pretty amazing huh? In one study, The National Institute of Environmental Sciences determined your baby will have a 20 percent less chance of dying in the first year of life if breastfed. Not only does breastfeeding protect your baby from developing illnesses in the early stages of life, but it will also help avoid diseases in the future. Breastfed babies are less likely to have diabetes, high cholesterol, and inflammatory bowel disease in their adult life. I know, as a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your children from harm. After all, it doesn’t matter how old they get, they’ll always be your babies.
Another incomparable benefit of breastfeeding is your baby’s...