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Breast-fed Babies Reap Lifelong Benefits

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Once a mother’s milk comes in—usually a few days after birth—breast-feeding continues to provide babies with lesser, but still beneficial immune-boosting antibodies. Breast-fed babies demonstrate a lower incidence of digestive problems, colic, respiratory illnesses and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies who are breast-fed for a few months may have a lower incidence of ear infections.

A baby can obtain all necessary nutrients from breast milk during the first six months of life. For the following six months, breast milk can provide at least half of a child’s necessary nutrients, and during the following year, a child can receive up to one-third of his or her necessary nutrients from breast milk. Once a baby begins eating solid food, breast milk can continue to enhance immunity, which can help during the “everything in my mouth” phase! Interestingly, the antibodies in breast milk become more concentrated as the amount of consumption decreases; therefore, babies and toddlers continue to receive health benefits, even as they nurse less frequently.

Breast-feeding can also have longer-reaching benefits. Because breast-fed babies can consume six times as much cholesterol as the average adult, the body learns to metabolize cholesterol and can potentially control cholesterol levels even in adulthood. Breastfeeding for a year or more can help protect your child from developing colitis, diabetes, asthma, Crohn’s disease and obesity later in life.

WHO has recommended breast-feeding exclusively for six months, and then continuing to supplement a child’s diet with breast milk until he or she is at least two years old. Understandably, breast-feeding can be more difficult than expected for some mothers. For this reason, the Surgeon General has encouraged employers, friends and family members to educate themselves in order to better support nursing mothers. Lactation consultants and support groups like ]]>La Leche League]]> can help, too.

WHO and UNICEF have recommended beginning to breast-feed within an hour after a baby is born.

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EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for the article, I have had 4 kids and been a life long supporter of the benefits of breast feeding. However, as a woman who was breastfed and still got osteoporosis, I thought I'd share some of my experiences and what has worked for me.
I lead a healthy lifestyle however like many women at my age, I have been losing bone density for the last several years. (maybe since menopause?)

I’ve been reluctant to try any prescription medication but a few years ago I gave in and my doctor prescribed Fosomax for me. I took it for a couple months but the side effects like nausea, diarreha and general muscle soreness were really affecting my day to day activities.

I stopped taking Fosomax and decided to go the more natural route. I began looking into the effects of resveratrol and after coming across this Journal of Biological Chemistry article (link to article listed below) I began taking a regimen of Resvantage resveratrol on a daily basis. There are many resveratrol supplements on the market but this one is physician recommended, made by Pfizer, and because the resveratrol is micronized it is 3.6x more effective than store bought brands.

That was 3 years ago and yearly tests have shown that I haven't had any further bone losses over that period of time. I have experienced no side effects; quite the opposite, resveratrol has me sleeping more soundly and I have added muscle mass which we tend to lose along with bone mass as we age. My mental acuity has improved as well.


June 29, 2011 - 12:04pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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