Breast is the gold standard when feeding infants.
Experts agree that with its curated blend of amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and a trove of other nutritional factors, human milk far surpasses formula in many aspects. For starters, it’s free. And easy. Breast fed babies achieve better weights and are less prone to allergies and asthma.
In addition, breastfeeding impacts microbes even in late infancy which is thought to be a crucial factor in gut and brain health.
Benefits to Infants
Infants who are breastfed have a lower risk of:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Severe lower respiratory disease
- Acute otitis media (ear infections)
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting)
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for preterm infants
Benefit to Mothers
Mothers who breastfeed their infants have a lower risk of:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
Clearly, the list of benefits is long, and spectacularly advantageous. Yet too many mothers opt out for a variety of reasons.
Learn more about breastfeeding inequality and why it matters at We The Parents. Below is their excellent infographic about the social and economic forces that produce these differences in breastfeeding rates.
Be sure to read the last segment where solutions are offered to change the way forward.