Breastfeeding is best for your baby, 5 health benefits for both mother and child

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Breastfeeding your child is one of the best practices which can benefit both the mother and the baby. It is believed to promote bonding between mother and child, reduce risk of asthma and cancer for babies, and boost their immune system. So much so, that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all babies (even those who are premature, underweight or sickly, should be exclusively breastfed), right from the maternity ward, and ideally for two years. World Breastfeeding Week is held every year from August 1 to 7 to highlight the importance of this practice.
Here are some of the benefits of breastfeeding:
* A study done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, shows that breastfeeding may help reduce the mother’s risk of type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes. Conducted over 20 years, the study suggests that breastfeeding for a longer period of time could help women diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
* Breastfeeding can also help against overweight in babies who gain weight rapidly, says a study by the University of Delaware. In the study, babies who gained weight rapidly in the first four months of life were significantly more likely to be classified as overweight by one year of age, if they were exclusively formula-fed rather than breastfed for 11 months or longer.
* Women who breastfeed their babies for six months or more may be able to cut their risk of developing diabetes in the future by nearly half, according to a study Tuesday. The findings from a three-decade US study of more than 1,200 white and African-American women were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.
* Mothers who breastfeed for at least 15 months over one or more pregnancies may be 53% less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with those who do not breastfeed at all or do so for up to four months, says a study.
* Mother’s breast milk can help premature infants get a metabolic boost, says a new study. According to researchers, the breast milk of mothers with premature babies has different amounts of microRNA than that of mothers with babies born at term, which may help premature babies catch up in growth and development. Previous research said that breastfeeding can help boost immunity and brainpower in children, though if done extensively, it could lead to dental cavities.

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