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What are the advantages of breast feeding? Is it worth all the trouble?

Asked by Shauna via Contact Us:

I'm so excited to be having my first baby in 2 months! My sister is telling me I should breast feed, but formula seems so much easier, since I'll have to return to work 12 weeks after she's born. Do I really need to breast feed?
In Topics: My child's growth and development, Nutrition, Motherhood
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Sep 20, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

there are multiple advantages to breast feeding.  First, building immunity, second, a perfect food without allergies, third,bonding with the baby that you have already bonded with, finally, many mothers tell me it is a time away from duties to sit and focus on that child-not easy to do if there are others at home.  Call your hospital nursery and ask to sit in on some of the breast feeding classes to get more detail.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
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Additional Answers (2)

pigtoria
pigtoria writes:
Hi Shaunaâ¦.

 I breastfed my son for 18 months and I highly recommend it to all mothers.  The bond and attachment that you developed for each other during breastfeeding is valuable, strong, and everlasting.   The attachment is built through bodily contact and closeness as well as visual.  Newborn infants do not have a 20/20 vision.  They can only see things clearly when itâs 10-12 inches from them â exactly distance that the mom holds the infant during breastfeeding.

Aside from the above essential and priceless advantage, there are some other âsideâ advantages.  Mothers who breastfed are proven to decrease their chance for developing breast cancer.  Babies who are breastfed have a stronger immune system (The first time my son got sick was when he was 13 months old.)  Babies who are breastfed are less likely to be obese.

Formula milk is convenient but breastfeeding is worth all the efforts!

Hope this helps!

Vicki
> 60 days ago

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mheyman
mheyman writes:
In addition to the above, another advantage of breast feeding is that babies learn some self regulation of intake.  In our society where overweight and obesity are becoming more prevalent, the regulation of intake (that is, recognizing satiety, or feeling 'full') is thought to begin to be lost when a baby is bottle fed until the bottle is empty rather than until the baby has taken enough nutrition for normal growth and development.  See link below for additional information.

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