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Breast milk is the perfect combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, as well as antibodies and amino acids for digestion, brain development, and growth. Breast milk, especially colostrum, the rich, milky substance your breasts produce in the first days after your baby is born, boosts your baby's immune system while fighting off bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

But while breastfeeding is the natural option for feeding your baby, it does not always come naturally. Like standing and walking and talking, it's something we learn with practice. And, thank goodness, babies give their mothers time to learn, as their need for food in their first days is minimal. Once you've gotten the hang of breastfeeding, you will actually find that it may be the easiest, and best option for feeding your baby.

Babies who are breastfed:

  • Are less likely to suffer from stomach infections.

  • Suffer half the ear infections, less diarrhea, fewer colds, flus, cancers, skin diseases, and digestive and urinary tract problems.

  • Are protected from bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, asthma, and other allergies.

  • Are less likely to develop insulin dependent diabetes, some lymphomas, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and breast and ovarian cancers.

Breastfeeding is an investment in your baby's health and in your peace of mind. But your baby isn't the only one who benefits from breastfeeding.

Mothers who breastfeed:

  • Are half as likely to get pre-menopausal breast cancer.

  • Have a lower risk for ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

  • Lose weight much more quickly.

  • Don't have to bother with measuring, sterilizing, and all the rest, and have more money at the end of the month.

Breastfeeding also forces you to take care of yourself following your baby's delivery. You need to get plenty of rest and continue to eat for two, consuming well-balanced meals and an extra 500 calories a day to produce a sufficient amount of milk for your baby. You need to make sure that you're getting enough iron and fluids, and you should continue to avoid substances that were off-limits during your pregnancy, such as caffeine, alcohol, and other toxins, as well as anything that seems to upset your baby's stomach, such spicy food.

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Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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