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Why should women breastfeed?

Published July 26. 2012 05:02PM

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, breastfeeding protects babies and mothers, saves money, and even benefits society.

Early breast milk, known as colostrum, is very rich in nutrients and antibodies that protect the baby. By the fifth day, this changes to mature milk with just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein the baby needs to continue to grow and is easier to digest. It is believed that breast milk fights disease because of the cells, hormones and anitbodies in it that protects babies from illenss.

Some of the benefits for mothers are no bottles and nipples to sterilize, you don't have to buy, measure and mix formula and no bottles to warm in the middle of the night. You can satisfy your baby's hunger immediately.

Breastfeeding has been linked to a lower risk in women in Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, postpartum depression.

Breastfeeding mothers miss less work because their babies are sick less often.

Breastfeeding can save money because there is no formula or feeding supplies to buy and experts say that breastfed babies are sick less often so that means less doctor visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.

Breastfeeding also contributes to a more productive workforce since mothers miss less work to care for sick infants. Employer medical costs are also lower.

Breastfeeding is also better for the environment. There is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

Physical contact is important to newborns. It can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers can benefit from this closeness, as well. Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time to bond. The skin-to-skin contact can boost the mother's oxytocin levels, a hormone that helps milk flow and can calm the mother.

The nation benefits overall when mothers breastfeed. Recent research shows that if 90 percent of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. The United States would also save $13 billion per year medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants.

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