August 1 – 7 is World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding is the best way to help your baby grow and develop. The World Health Organization recommends that newborns start breastfeeding within one hour of life and be exclusively breastfed for six months. Here are 8 great reasons to breastfeed your baby:
- It’s always ready. Breast milk is always quick, clean and the right temperature.
- It’s perfect food for babies. Breast milk gives your baby exactly what he or she needs to grow and develop. As your baby grows, your milk will also change to keep up with your baby’s needs.
- Breastfed babies are healthier. Breast milk contains antibodies that help a baby have fewer infections and allergies. It is easier to digest so your baby will have less diarrhea and constipation.
- Moms are healthier too. Breastfeeding has been linked to lowered risk of some cancers.
- Moms get back into shape faster. Breastfeeding burns calories and triggers the uterus to contract and return to its normal shape.
- It’s better for the planet. Breastfeeding is not wasteful.
- Breastfeeding builds love. Skin to skin contact brings you and your baby close. It helps your baby feel secure.
- Breastfeeding saves money. Breastfeeding helps the family budget, by saving over $1000 per year compared to formula.
Although breastfeeding is natural it may take some time for you and baby to learn and practice. Your health care provider, Public Health Nurse or friends who have breastfed can all help and support you.