Health: Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed your baby

July 20, 2014

I often get asked by patients , "What will happen if I don't breastfeed my baby?' The honest answer is, while nothing will happen, your baby and you are better off if you breastfeed. While I have come to understand the reasons mothers give as to why they cannot breastfeed, I still encourage breastfeeding. Various studies have shown why breastfeeding, with or without bottle feeding is a better option than just bottle feeding alone.

If you are young mother or future mother, who is contemplating not breastfeeding your baby, here are the top 10 reasons why you should.

1. It helps bond mother and baby
Often times, right after the birth of their babies, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed the baby, as it helps the mother-baby bond. It is like a special moment that you share with your baby.

2. It boosts your baby's immune system
When babies are born, their immune system is generally weak. By breastfeeding your baby, you give them antibodies to fight against infections such as measles, chicken pox, and other contagious diseases.

3. A happy, healthier mom
Mothers who breastfeed enjoy a quicker recovery from childbirth. It also reduces the risk of post-partum bleeding.  It helps the mother return to her normal weight faster because you burn up to 500 extra calories a day. Breastfeeding also lowers a woman's risk of diseases common to women such as Ovarian, cervical, breast cancers, and bone diseases. Overall mothers are happier as breastfeeding also prevents postpartum depression in mothers.

4. It promotes normal growth and development
Studies have shown that breastfeeding helps develop a baby's language, reading, and problems solving skills. Breastfed baby have also been shown to have a higher IQ overall than bottle fed babies.

5. Better health for your baby
Formula fed babies have higher rates of Asthma and Allergies compared to breastfed babies,  as well as higher rates of anxiety, depression and certain cancers.

6. It is also good for premature and low birth weight babies
Premature babies are at risk for stomach and intestinal diseases, and breast milk helps to protect the baby against these diseases. It also protects the premature baby from hypothermia.

7. It is easy to digest
Breast milk is a lot easier for babies to digest than other foods. So it is self explanatory why it is highly recommended.

8. There are no side effects
Ok, granted there are no side effects with bottle feeding either, but certain infant formulas have been recalled in the States in the past due to potential for harm to the baby

9. It can serve as a form of birth control
Breastfeeding naturally suppresses the hormones that are needed for ovulation. Unfortunately this is not 100% effective. It works depending on if you are exclusively breastfeeding, or how frequently you are breast feeding your baby.

10. It saves time and money. 
It is free, so you save a lot of money, that you would use to buy formula. You also don't have to mix it, so the baby can get it right away.

While breastfeeding is highly recommended and should be encouraged, there are certain situations where breastfeeding absolutely contraindicated (an Absolute NO NO!)
1. If the mother is on certain drugs like amphetamines, methadrine, ritalin, cocaine or crack.
2. If the baby's mother is HIV positive or has AIDS.
3. If the baby's mother has cancer is being treated with chemotherapy. She may continue breastfeeding after chemotherapy is complete.
4.  If the baby has a condition called Galactosemia. The baby needs a special formula diet.

N/B: Please always talk to your doctor or health professional before starting any medication during pregnancy or afterwards to remain. As some medications are tetratogenic (can serious harm the baby)

If you have any comments, questions, please leave  comment below or email me at

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Information sources: Platypus media, Planned Parenthood

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