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.