The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, for a total of one year or longer as desired by mother and infant.
14 Benefits to your Baby:
1: Breast milk is nutritionally complete. It provides everything your baby needs to grow and develop for the first 6 months of life. 2: Breastmilk continues to provide at least ½ of your baby’s nutritional needs for 6-12 months. 3: Breastmilk is easy to digest. 4: Premature babies benefit greatly from breast milk because they absorb it better than formula. It contains special nutrients and protective factors that a premature baby needs to grow, develop and stay healthy. 5: Breast milk has substances not found in formula that improve your baby’s IQ, vision and digestion. 6: Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s incidence of diarrhea, ear infections, breathing problems, blood poisoning, allergies, urinary infections, meningitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 7: Exclusively breastfeeding a baby for at least 2 months decreases their risk for childhood type 1 diabetes. 8: Breastfeeding after introducing solid foods ensures good nutrition and helps with digestion. 9: A mother’s milk is full of antibodies that protect against chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and obesity. 10: Children who are breastfed for more than six months have been shown to score higher on fine motor skills (such as wiggling fingers and toes) and cognitive, receptive and expressive communication (such as attention, memory, listening, speaking, and writing). 11: Infants who are breastfed exclusively for more than six months are four times less likely to contract pneumonia. 12: Breastfeeding after six months continues to provide babies with antibodies, immunities to infections, as they begin to crawl and put items in their mouth. 13: Children who are breastfed for six months are significantly protected against eczema, a skin disease, for their first three years of life. 14: The longer a mother breastfeeds, the less likely her child will need braces or speech therapy.
10 Benefits to mother:
15: Improved recovery from Childbirth 16: Increases self-esteem 17: Breastfeeding releases prolactin, a hormone that promotes relaxation, and oxytocin, which promotes bonding between mother and baby 18: The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more protected she is against obesity. 19: Women who had gestational diabetes can reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by breastfeeding. 20: Extended breastfeeding lowers a mother’s risk of developing coronary heart disease, the number one killer of women in America. 21: Protects from ovarian and breast cancer and bone loss after menopause. 22: Breastfeeding can help new mothers lose weight by burning up to 500-800 calories per day. 23: Mothers who breastfeed miss less work to care for sick infants than those who use formula. 24: Breastfeeding is a great way for mothers to bond with their baby.