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Breastfeeding

Why breastfeed

Breastfeeding is the normal, unequaled way to feed your child. Breastmilk is all the food and drink a baby needs for the first six months. Breastfeeding for up to two years or longer is healthy for children and is encouraged.

The longer you breastfeed, the greater the health benefits for you and your child. This is why breastfeeding for as long as possible is recommended. Regardless of the length of time you breastfeed your child, it is better to breastfeed for a short time than not at all.

Breastfeeding:

  • Promotes more opportunity for bonding and attachment
  • Protects your child from ear, chest and stomach infections
  • May protect your child from some illness, such as Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes in adulthood
  • Builds healthy eating habits and may protect against obesity
  • Lowers a child's risk of some childhood cancers
  • Promotes proper jaw development
  • Lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Supports healthy brain development
  • Comforts baby/child when they’re sick, upset or hurt
  • May reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

Breastfeeding:

  • Promotes more opportunities for bonding and attachment
  • Helps the parent recover from childbirth
  • Helps the parent return to pre-pregnancy weight sooner
  • Assists with child spacing by delaying return of periods
  • Decreases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer
  • Decreases the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Is convenient, since breastmilk is at the right temperature and available anytime

Breastfeeding:

  • Is free
  • Saves time and money (no need to buy and prepare formula, bottles and equipment)
  • Saves money by preventing illness, i.e. medical costs, medications, lost time from work to care for sick child
  • Is a safe and secure food source during emergencies and when traveling
  • Is available when baby is born, and for as long as parent and child want to breastfeed

Breastfeeding:

  • Is environmentally friendly – saves energy and reduces pollution and waste
  • Decreases health care costs (fewer doctor’s visits, hospitalizations) and contributes to long term health care savings

A workplace that supports breastfeeding has employees who:

  • Take less time off work
  • Have improved productivity, moral and loyalty
  • Stay with them

Health professionals can help you learn about breastfeeding. They can support you in deciding how to feed your baby. To make an informed decision you can talk to a health professional about:

  • Your thoughts, feelings, and questions
  • The importance of breastfeeding and the health consequences of not breastfeeding
  • The risks and costs of using formula
  • How it may be difficult to reverse the decision if breastfeeding is stopped
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