10 Reasons to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is not just a lifestyle decision; it's also a nutritional winner for your baby.

Jim Williams

HealthKey.com contributor

March 8, 2010


You've had a baby, congratulations! You now have a big decision: do you breast feed or go the formula route. No guilt here, but you give your child the best chance for a healthy beginning by breastfeeding. Doctors, researchers and countless moms, agree.

Breast milk contains disease-fighting antibodies that help protect infants from germs and illness. Formula cannot match the chemical makeup of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, breastfeeding has been linked to lowering an infant's risk of ear infections, stomach viruses, respiratory infections, asthma, both Type 1 and 2 diabetes, child leukemia and sudden infant death syndrome. And in moms, it has been shown to lower breast and ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression.

10 Reasons to Breastfeed

1. For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. It takes time for their stomachs to adjust to digesting the proteins in formula because they are made from cow's milk.

2. Premature babies do better when breastfed, compared to those who are fed formula.

3. When you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. Unlike human milk straight from the breast, infant formula has a chance of being contaminated.

4. Breastfeeding makes life easier, convenient. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula and there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night.

5. Breastfeeding can save you between $1,160 and $3,915 per year, depending on the formula brand.

6. A mother can satisfy her baby's hunger right away with breastfeeding.

7. Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby, helping them bond. Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.

8. Breastfeeding saves on health-care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.

9. Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding mothers miss less work because their infants are sick less often. Employer medical costs are lower, too.

10. Breastfeeding is better for the environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services