Top 13 reasons to breastfeed your baby

Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby's immune system, experts say. (Flickr/BradleyPJohnson)
Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby's immune system, experts say. (Flickr/BradleyPJohnson)

(FOX19) - Choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is an important decision for expectant parents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are just a few organizations that recommend breastfeeding as the best for babies.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, here are Mercy Health's top 13 reasons to do so:

  1. Nursing helps mom lose weight faster after baby is born. Is this the #1 benefit of breastfeeding? Of course not, but is losing baby weight a huge concern for moms? Of course it is! Breastfeeding burns an average of 500 extra calories per day and breastfeeding mothers lose the extra weight faster than moms who bottle feed.
  2. Breast milk contains immunities to diseases and aids in the development of baby's immune system. Formula provides neither of these benefits. Breastfed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers a mother's antibodies so they are protected in varying degrees from a number of illnesses. Mothers produce antibodies to their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight diseases their babies are exposed to as well.
  3. Breastfeeding satisfies baby's emotional needs and increases bonding between mother and baby. All babies need to be held. Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother's body which promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and baby.
  4. Breast milk is free. Not many things in this world are free, so it's nice to save where you can! Even if you pump, pumps are reasonably priced and can be used for more than one child. Formula is expensive. It can cost upward of $1,200 dollars per year. If your baby requires a special formula, you will have to pay considerably more.
  5. Breast milk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Formula companies are constantly adjusting these amounts trying to achieve the best composition that's the most similar to breast milk. A mother's milk composition changes from feeding to feeding depending on the needs of her child. No formula can do that!
  6. Breast milk is always the right temperature. There is no hassle heating it and making sure it's a safe temperature so your baby doesn't get burned. Even when formula is heated correctly, it can be stressful when your baby is hungry and fussy!
  7. Breast milk is "green." There are no wrappers, disposable bottles, plastic bags, etc. Bottles and nipples are made of plastic, rubber, and silicon, which are not always recyclable. These products cause pollution when manufactured and distributed and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal.
  8. Benefits for dad, too! From a lighter diaper bag, to a heavier wallet, less late night store runs and more zzz's. The benefits aren't just for mom and baby!
  9. Breast milk has never been recalled due to manufacturing problems. There have been recalls on certain formulas, sometimes after causing injury or death.
  10. Which brand is better? No need to worry! Every formula is different, but none of them come close to the real thing. It can be very stressful to try to determine which brand is best.
  11. Breast milk contains no genetically engineered materials and no hormones. Many cows in the U.S. are now routinely ingesting synthetic growth hormones to artificially increase their milk production, so these hormones could also be getting into the formulas.
  12. Lastly, breastfed babies have a pleasant smell – They smell better and diaper changes are less harsh when compared to those of formula fed babies. This fact alone may be worth it to some parents!

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