We all know that breast milk is the best food for your baby. But maybe you are the kind of person who likes to see the proof. Here are some studies that show just some of the many benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Raises Intelligence
In this study, researcher analyzed the results of 11 previous studies on the differences in intelligence between breastfed and formula fed babies and children. Intelligence was measured at several different ages by several different standard IQ tests. The study concluded that breastfed babies and children score about 3 points higher on standard IQ tests than formula fed babies. The benefits for low-birthrate babies were even more dramatic with a difference of 5 IQ points.
Breastfeeding Decreases Obesity
Researchers collected data on over 9,000 children who were entering school (5 and 6 years old). Of the children who were formula fed as infants, 4.5 percent were overweight. Only 2.8 percent of the breastfed children were overweight. The study concluded that in industrialized countries prolonged breastfeeding can decrease incidences of childhood obesity. Because obese children often become obese adults, breastfeeding could ultimately decrease incidences of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other diseases related to obesity.
Breastfeeding Decreases Asthma
2,187 children were followed from birth to age 6. The study found that children who were exclusively breastfed for the first four months of life had lower incidences of asthma. Asthma accounts for a great deal of hospital visits in children in Western countries, breastfeeding could prevent many of these.
Breastfeeding decreases illness
In this study infants that were breastfed for the first 6 months of life had fewer incidences of diarrhea, wheezing, coughing, vomiting and fewer visits to health care professionals. This was only true for babies that were exclusively or nearly exclusively breastfed.
Breastfeeding and work
Researchers compared mothers who were not expecting to work with mothers who were planning to work part time and mothers who were expecting to work full time. Mothers who worked part time (four or less hours a day) were similar in breastfeeding initiation and duration to mothers who did not work. Mothers who were expecting to go back to work full time were less likely to breastfeed and more likely to wean early if they did breastfeed.
Breastfeeding and Father’s Approval
In this study of mostly middle class families, researchers found that fathers’ attitudes about breastfeeding played a significant role in whether or not a mother decided to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding and Pacifiers
Researchers found that when babies used pacifiers moms tended to nurse less often. Less frequent nursing sessions can lead to associated problems such as insufficient milk supply and early weaning. Mothers who gave their babies pacifiers were also more likely to say that breastfeeding was inconvenient.