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What's the Big Deal About Breastfeeding?

Disease Fighter

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infants' health, growth, immunity, and development. Breast milk is composed of important cells, hormones, and antibodies that protect babies from illness. In fact, the unique chemical makeup of human breast milk cannot be replaced by any other food or formula.
 
Babies come into this world not fully developed, making them susceptible to disease. While formulas are able to mimic a few of the nutritional aspects of breast milk, they cannot replicate the constantly changing nutritional makeup of the essential nutrients in breast milk.
 
Research has shown that breast milk can increase a child's immunity to disease and infections. Some of the many benefits include:
 
  • Fewer ear infections: Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk for ear infections. This means less exposure to antibiotic medications.
 
  • Less diarrhea: Babies that are formula-fed are three to four times more likely to have diarrheal problems than those who are breastfed.
 
  • Strengthening the immune system: The mother passes antibodies to the breastfed infant.
     
  • Fewer respiratory illnesses: Research has shown that formula-fed babies are three times more likely to be hospitalized with a severe respiratory infection than breastfed infants.
     
  • Decreased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): Research has indicated that breastfed babies may have a reduced risk for SIDS compared to formula-fed babies.
     
  • Allergy protection: Breastfeeding can help provide protection from allergies.
 
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