Studies Show Breastfeeding Benefits Moms and Babies
- Tuesday, March 15, 2005
A Wake Forest University family physician agrees with a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that breastfeeding offers a wealth of benefits, not only to the mothers of infants but also to those children throughout their lives.
Dr. David Fisher, M.D., of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem says the AAP has issued a statement encouraging women to breastfeed exclusively until a child is six months old and to continue even beyond that point as the baby begins eating other food. The doctor says many parents fail to realize all the benefits breastfeeding confers.
Fisher says research has found that breastfed infants are at decreased risk for all types of infections, including infections of the ear, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract. And, he notes, "Babies who are exclusively breastfed are also at decreased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as well as diabetes; and some studies have suggested that these infants will be at a decreased lifetime risk of certain types of cancer, obesity, asthma, and even high cholesterol."
But the benefits of breastfeeding are not just for babies, Fisher points out. He says this time-honored practice has also been shown to speed mothers' recovery from the physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth, and also to help reduce their risks of developing ovarian cancer.
And the M.D. says research shows that breastfeeding mothers gain in other ways, too. "In the short-term," he says, "they do have decreased post-partum bleeding, and they also have a quicker return to pre-pregnancy weight."
Meanwhile, Fisher adds, "In the long term, there's evidence to show that women who breastfeed have decreased risk of breast cancer and also, we're seeing now, decreased risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures -- even in the post-menopausal period." He says it is no surprise to see what medical researchers are learning -- that God's perfect plan for nourishing babies has myriad health benefits for mothers as well as their children.
© 2005 Agape Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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