What is the healthiest option when feeding your newborn?

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Answered by: Jasmine, An Expert in the Breastfeeding Category
For most women, becoming a mother is one of the most exciting times of their lives. The activation of holding this little precious bundle of joy created by you can be an overwhelming feeling. With all the excitement that comes with becoming a mother, there are also true concerns and questions on how to keep your baby happy and healthy.

As mothers, we want whats best for our little ones. One of the best places to start is providing them with the best nutrition possible. Medical experts say that breast milk is the best option available for feeding your newborn. When babies are first born, their digestive tracks are sensitive. Breast milk encourages healthy development of your babies digestive system by providing nutrients such as lactose, fat, and protein. Research has also shown that breast milk has the ability to aid in the healing of common illness in newborns and as a preventative barrier for future complications such as asthma, allergies, and obesity.

Aside from the nutritional benefits provided through breast milk, it serves as a platform to help strengthen the bond between mother and baby. There is nothing more intimate than skin to skin contact. When breastfeeding, mothers have the chance to bond with their little ones, while gaining confidence in her ability to supply her babies needs. Breastfeeding mothers also burn calories at a faster rate, helping shrink their uterus, and return to pre-pregnancy weight much sooner. And, if the health benefits for mom and baby, and opportunity to bond aren't enough to convince you on breastfeeding, always remember it's free. With breastfeeding, there are no last minute runs to the store, and no running to the kitchen to warm bottles in the middle of the night. Baby formula can get expensive, and with a list of other responsibilities and things to do when becoming a new mother, it's nice to know you can rely on your body to get the job done and keep your baby healthy.

As our babies grow, their dieting and eating habits change. Studies show that breastfed babies are more likely to prefer a more diverse diet than formula fed babies, because of the introduction of various foods and flavors through their mother's milk. This lifelong benefit of breast milk can greatly be appreciated by parents and caregivers in later years, when children may begin to navigate away from fruits and vegetables. Research also shows that breastfed children have slightly higher IQs than children who are formula fed. In fact, a recent study conducted by Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil concluded that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least age 30 but that it also directly relates to social status and educational and career opportunities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies get nothing but breastmilk from birth to six months. It is also recommended that upon the introduction of table foods, mothers also continue to offer breast milk up to one year of age. Let your body do the work, and experience the beauty of breastfeeding your newborn.

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