Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
Honors the Traditions
ATLANTA - This week is World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding among Native mothers honors the traditions of American Indian and Alaska Native families.
Breastfeeding benefits both the baby and the mother.
There are benefits to children who are breastfed. Breast milk fights disease because the cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk. The natural protection is unique. Formula cannot match the chemical makeup of human breast milk. In fact, among formula-fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common. Formula-fed babies also have higher risks of:
Breastfeeding may take a little more effort than formula feeding at first. But it can make life easier once you and your baby settle into a good routine. Plus, when you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. You do not have to buy, measure, and mix formula. And there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night! You can satisfy your baby's hunger right away when breastfeeding.
Formula and feeding supplies can cost well over $1,500 each year, depending on how much your baby eats. Breastfed babies are also sick less often, which can lower health care costs.
Physical contact is important to newborns. It can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers can benefit from this closeness, as well. Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time to bond.
Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of these health problems in women:
Experts are still looking at the effects of breastfeeding on osteoporosis and weight loss after birth. Many studies have reported greater weight loss for breastfeeding mothers than for those who don't. But more research is needed to understand if a strong link exists.
Breastfeeding mothers miss fewer days from work because their infants are sick less often.
posted August 3, 2011 6:30 am edt
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