Why breastfeed?

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At the risk of sounding like a breast feeding single issue party, I’m posting this to make myself feel better about all the formula advertising I saw at the baby expo last week while I was there volunteering for the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Watching pregnant women walking around with tins of formula was dispiriting, I think it’s important to keep this information circulating. If you know a pregnant woman, your support in her breastfeeding relationship is important, especially if you are her partner, or her close family. This is not about bullying people into doing something they don’t want to do – it’s about supporting them if they do want to do it.

Blatantly stolen from PhD in Parenting, much more info here.

Benefits to the child

  • Acute otitis media ( middle ear infections): Babies that were ever breastfed had a 23 percent lower incidence of acute otitis media than exclusively formula fed babies.
  • Atopic dermatitis (type of eczema): In families with a history of atopy, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months was found to have a 42 percent reduction in atopic dermatitis compared with breastfeeding for less than 3 months.
  • Gastrointestinal infections: Infants who were breastfeeding had a 64 percent reduction in the risk of non-specific
  • Lower respiratory tract diseases: There is a 72 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract diseases in infants less than 1 year of age who were exclusively breastfed for 4 months or more.
  • Asthma: Breastfeeding for at least 3 months was associated with a 27 percent reduction in the risk of asthma for those without a family history of asthma and a 40 percent reduction for those with a family history of asthma.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: Breastfeeding for at least 3 months results in between a 19 and 27 percent reduction in incidence of childhood Type 1 Diabetes compared with breastfeeding for less than 3 months (findings confirmed through multiple studies, but some cause for caution in interpreting results).
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Found a 39 percent reduction in risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life for people that were breastfed as infants (some cause for caution in interpreting results).
  • Childhood Leukemia: Breastfeeding for at least 6 months associated with 19 percent decrease in risk of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia and a 15 percent decrease in the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): The meta-analysis found that breastfeeding was associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of SIDS compared to not breastfeeding. Another study completed since the meta-anlaysis was done found a 50 percent reduction in the risk of SIDS as a result of breastfeeding.

PS. Daisy is sitting closer to me than he has in months, purring like a lawnmower. I am sure he knows something…

2 Responses to “Why breastfeed?”

  1. miriam Says:

    Great stats.
    WTF are they marketing formula to pregnant women for?? grrr that’s just wrong.

  2. red Says:

    One of the great bits of research I came across years back (and for which I have long since lost the reference) was that it takes six weeks for the uterus to return to its pre-preg size if you breastfeed. If you don’t breastfeed, it never goes back to its original size! I’m vain and thought it might somehow make me slimmer to have a marginally tighter uterus. heh.

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