Benefits of Breast Feeding

Breast feeding for infants has been greatly encouraged in recent years due to numerous documented benefits. Among other positive effects, infants who are breast-fed demonstrate a lower incidence of sudden infant death syndrome - the physiology of which is not yet completely understood. Human milk provides cellular factors - such as macrophages, lymphocytes, and enzymes which boost the infant's immunological response. This is particularly beneficial to the preterm infant. Research has demonstrated that infants fed fortified breast milk supplemented with formula often require require less oxygen therapy, experience sepsis less frequently, and are discharged sooner from the hospital.

The following paragraph is taken from The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on breast feeding and the use of human milk:

"Epidemiologic research shows that human milk and breastfeeding of infants provide advantages with regard to general health, growth, and development, while significantly decreasing risk for a large number of acute and chronic diseases. Research in the United States, Canada, Europe, and other developed countries, among predominantly middle-class populations, provides strong evidence that human milk feeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of diarrhea, lower respiratory