Importance of Breastfeeding
There is nothing you can do for your child in his/her whole life that will affect them both emotionally and physically as profoundly as breastfeeding. It is also important for your own body and affects a surprising number of health issues
The key health benefits of breastfeeding are summarised below:
Babies who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from:
- Gastro-intestinal Infection
- Respiratory Infections
- Necrotising Enterocolitis
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Ear Infections
- Alergic Disorders (eg. Eczema and Wheezing)
- Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Childhood Leukaemia.
Breastfed babies may have better:
- Neurological Development.
More research is needed, but breastfeeding may also provide protection for the infant against:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Acute Appendicitis
And for the mother, protection against:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Women who have breastfed are at lower risk of:
- Breast Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Hip Fractures and Low Bone Density
Information from The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative and "The womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by La Leche League International.