by Carol Adams Rivera
July 25, 2011
Breastfeeding is one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby—and yourself! Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, less constipation and diarrhea, and less risk of asthma and allergy. As a result, parents of breastfed babies miss fewer days of work. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and continued breastfeeding for at least one year, breastfeeding for even two days, two weeks, or two months is better than not breastfeeding at all. Any amount of breast milk will give your baby’s immune system a boost. Breastfeeding also helps you bond with your baby.
In addition to offering immediate health benefits, breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of childhood obesity. Breastfed babies as a group are smarter and have better brain development. Children who are breastfed tend to do better on IQ tests and often do better in school.
Breastfeeding protects you, too. Mothers who breastfeed usually lose weight more easily and have less bleeding after childbirth. They also have less risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer later in life.
Once you see how easy and convenient breastfeeding is, you may choose to breastfeed for a longer time.
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