According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mothers choosing to breastfeed their baby is a trend on the rise. This is very good news. There are many health benefits associated with breastfeeding for both mother and baby. There are also some very important pre-pregnancy and pregnancy factors to consider.
An article by Dr. Joel Fuhrman lists some of the benefits of breastfeeding and also explains that, "Proper nutrition is vitally important to health during all stages of life, and especially during the rapid cellular growth that occurs during fetal development and infancy. Early nutrition is a significant determinant of long-term health, and it starts with a woman's nutritional status even before she becomes pregnant, followed by good nutrition throughout pregnancy and nursing, and then setting a good nutritional example for children. Breastfeeding is most protective of a child's health when the mother is in good health."
Some of the many benefits of breastfeeding for the child include:
- Improved development of the immune system.
- Reduced risk of overweight in childhood.
- Reduced risk of childhood leukemia.
- Reduced risk of type 1 diabetes in childhood.
- Enhanced cognitive development and school achievement.
- Reduced risk of high blood pressure as adults.
- Reduced risk of high cholesterol as adults.
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes as adults.
- Reduced risk of obesity as adults.
- Reduced risk of breast cancer as adults.
Some of the many benefits of breastfeeding for the mother include:
- Reduced risk of breast cancer, possibly due to the reduced exposure to ovarian hormones.
- More favorable lipid, glucose and insulin levels.
- Longer duration of breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Reduced weight retention after giving birth.