Breast Feeding is Best for Newborns

A feature article from drkoop.com addresses the advantages of breastfeeding babies. The article by Carole A. Stashwick, M.D. addresses a number of reasons why breastfeeding is far better than bottle feeding an infant whenever possible. A few of the reasons according to the article are:

* Breast milk from healthy mothers supplies all of the nutrients required for the development of a healthy baby for at least the first 6 months of life.
* Babies who have breast milk have fewer illnesses in the first year of life.
* Breast-fed babies have fewer ear infections, colds and viral illnesses, less diarrhea, less pneumonia as well as other chest infections -- and also the illnesses that they do get are much less serious.
* Based on one study, by 4 months of age, babies who never received breast milk tend to be hospitalized 15 times more frequently than breast-fed babies.
* Breast-fed children have long-term protection against the later development of significant allergies, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and certain cancers.
* Studies also report that breast-fed children also have increased intelligence.
* Mothers who nurse also benefit by returning to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner, they have a later return of menstruation and probably ovulation, and they may be protected against breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
* Breast-feeding is also economical and saves a family at least $500 in the first year, even if you include the extra cost of the food needed by the breast-feeding mother

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, whenever possible, babies be breast-fed for at least the first 12 months of life.

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