The Surprising Benefits of Breastfeeding


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — We’ve all heard that breastfed babies have fewer ear infections and respiratory illnesses but there are other surprising benefits that you may not know about.

Breastfeeding mother, Jenn Foster told Ivanhoe, “My heart just melts every time I nurse and I can just look down and see that he’s so happy.”

“It keeps us connected to our children, which is the gift I believe most women are able to enjoy and experience,” mother, Aviva Zito, shared.

That experience also acts as an anti-depressant. One study found that women who breastfed were less likely to be diagnosed with postpartum depression. That may be because of oxytocin, the “feel-good hormone” produced when a baby nurses.

Nancy Aaron Jones, PhD, a child psychologist at Florida Atlantic University says oxytocin “is a natural hormone already in our brain and it helps the bond.”

New research has also found that breast milk has a big impact on a baby’s gut microbiota.

“The infants that were exclusively breast fed had an easier transition to solid foods,” confessed Amanda Thompson, PhD, MPH, an associate professor at UNC – Chapel Hill.

Breastfed infants also have a lower risk of getting breast cancer as adults. But the benefits aren’t just for baby. Several studies show that women who breastfeed lower their risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, nursing is an easy way to lose that postpartum weight. Researchers at University of California Davis found that breastfeeding mothers burned more than 600 calories every day.

Breastfed infants are more likely to gain just enough weight as they grow rather than become overweight children. The American Academy of Pediatrics said more than 900 infant lives per year may be saved in the United States if 90 percent of mothers exclusively breastfed for six months.

Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

REPORT #2404

BACKGROUND: Mothers-to-be face an ongoing dilemma of whether to breastfeed their baby or not. While it is a controversial topic, studies have found surprising benefits that come with breastfeeding. To start off, the milk breastfeeding provides is full of nutritional benefits since it contains a healthy mix of:

  • Vitamins,
  • Protein, and
  • Fat

All of these elements are important for natural growth. Furthermore, breastfeeding milk is easier for babies to digest than formula. It also contains antibodies that help the newborn fight infections, allergies, and asthma. Babies that are feed with only breast milk for their first 6 months have a lower chance of developing ear infections, respiratory illnesses and diarrhea.


BENEFITS TO THE MOTHER: Breastfeeding doesn’t only benefit the baby; it benefits the mother as well. Studies have shown that mothers who breastfeed are able to lose the pregnancy weight faster since the activity can burn around 600 calories a day. Furthermore, breastfeeding helps with post-partum depression. The oxytocin hormone is produced when a baby is being breastfed. The hormone is correlated with happiness; therefore, it helps mothers by preventing depression, by forming bonds with their babies, and by reducing uterine bleeding after birth. Studies have also found that breastfeeding lowers the risk of:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Type 2 diabetes, and
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

(Sources: & & & &

MORE BENEFITS: Breastfeeding has also been linked with higher IQ later in life. Furthermore, research has shown that children are likely to gain the right amount of weight rather than becoming overweight when they are breastfed. The American Academy of Pediatrics says “The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced by over a third in breastfed babies, and there is a 15 percent to 30 percent reduction in adolescent and adult obesity in breastfed vs. non-breastfed infants.”


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