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Should I breastfeed my baby?

For years there have been debates about breastfeeding and whether it is the best start you can give your baby in life. Leading doctors and scientists now agree that breastfeeding is definitely beneficial to a newborn baby. Here are eight reasons why breast is best.

Woman breastfeeding baby


After you have been through the initial acclimatisation, breastfeeding can be an extremely convenient way to feed you baby. There is no worry about sterilising bottles, checking the temperature of the milk and washing up — as everything is perfect and ready for your baby whenever they require it. Going out is also far easier as there is no equipment to carry around with you and if your baby needs a feed: You can discreetly do it where you are or nip to the toilet for a few minutes.

Helps you and your baby bond

There is nothing more natural than breastfeeding, and the emotional bond that can develop between baby and mother is like no other. It ensures close physical contact between you and your baby for up to 18 hours a day, and nursing mothers tend to be with their babies more than non-nursing mums.

Improves baby’s IQ

Research has shown that breastfeeding your baby can improve your child’s IQ by up to 7 points. This is believed to be caused by chemicals in the milk called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA), which boost brain development.

Breast milk is easier to digest

Breast milk has been shown to be easier for babies to digest than formula milk. This is especially helpful in premature babies who have delicate digestive systems. Formula milk is made from cows milk and its proteins can take babies a bit of getting used to.

Fights diseases and infections

Many studies have shown that babies who breastfeed have a lower chance of getting certain diseases and contracting infections. Breast milk is full of hormones and antibodies that help protect the baby exactly as nature intended. A lower risk of respiratory infections, asthma, type 2 diabetes and general colds have been shown to be lower in breastfed babies to formula-fed infants.

Saves money

Although this is not the primary reason most mothers choose to breastfeed, it is actually a rather important one — especially in this economic climate. Breastfeeding is completely free and at you and your baby’s disposal whenever you wish. Formula feed and equipment is actually pretty expensive and can add up to over £1,500 a year for each baby. It’s good for mum, too. Studies have shown that breast feeding can lower chances of post-natal depression, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer in mum, meaning it is not just the baby who benefits from breastfeeding.

Can help weight issues for both mum and baby

Breastfeeding has been shown in several studies to lower the chances of obesity in children, however, scientists aren’t quite sure how this happens yet. What is clear is that breastfeeding can help mums shed the pounds far more easily than mums who formula feed because it burns a lot of extra calories at every sitting.

Reduces the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Statistics have shown that breastfed babies have a 73 per cent reduction in their risk of SIDS attributed to the fact that they awaken more easily from sleep and are protected against diseases and infections, which may make them more vulnerable to the fatal condition.

More about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding facts: From low milk-supply to diet
Breastfeeding help: Getting baby to latch on
The pros and cons of extended breastfeeding

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