Breastfeeding: Best for mom and baby

By ParentsCanada staff on September 17, 2012
Breast milk is the most balanced food you can feed your baby. It passes on valuable antibodies, it’s always the right temperature, it doesn’t require sterilization and it’s free!
  • Breast milk contains less sodium and protein than formula, which puts less stress on your baby’s kidneys and reduces the incidence of dehydration. 

  • Breast milk changes as your baby matures. The milk of a mother with a premature baby is different than the milk for a full-term baby. It has more iron, calories and antibodies.

  • Breast milk adapts to the climate. It is more watery in hot weather and creamier in cold weather.

  • Breastfed babies have a lower risk of suffering from some bowel disorders (such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease), asthma, respiratory, ear, and gastrointestinal infections, meningitis, SIDS, juvenile diabetes, allergies and eczema. Breast milk even lowers the chances of appendicitis!

  • Breast milk may appear thinner than formula, but it is more nutritious. It contains just the right amount of calories, fat, sugar, protein, vitamins and minerals your baby needs.

  • The foremilk (at the beginning of a feeding) is thinner and sweeter to quench the baby’s thirst and keep the baby sucking, while the hind milk (at the end of a feeding) has more fat to help the baby feel full and satisfied (this also helps with baby’s weight gain).

  • Later in life, children who were breastfed have lower cholesterol, better mouth development and fewer cavities and orthodontic problems.

  • Your breasts may look a bit different after breastfeeding, but most changes in breast tissue occur over time, due to the aging process, not because you breastfed.

  • Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to normal size and helps your pre-pregnancy body return faster. 

  • Breastfeeding creates a unique bond between mother and child.

  • Breastfeeding is better for the environment. You don’t need bottles, liners or nipples. And you don’t have the hassle of preparing formula or warming bottles.

  • Pacifiers can teach your baby poor sucking technique and hide hunger signs. Do not give your baby a pacifier (soother) to help him learn how to suck. If you do use a pacifier, wait until breastfeeding is well-established (after at least six weeks).

  • Mothers do not have to wean their babies if they have to go back to work. Mothers can breastfeed when they’re home and express their milk for when they are at work. Frozen breast milk can also be used.

  • Studies show it is best to feed babies whenever they are hungry, not on a strict schedule. This is called demand feeding.

Originally published in ParentsCanada: Best Wishes, Spring 2012.

By ParentsCanada staff| September 17, 2012

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