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Nutrition for Infants and Children

Breastfeeding: The Perfect Food for Babies

The ideal food for a newborn baby is mother's milk. Breast milk provides the nutrients essential for an infant's development in the first months of life. It is easily digested and provides enough fluids to keep your baby from feeling thirsty or becoming constipated.

Breastfeeding also protects against illness:

  • During the first few days of lactation, mothers produce colostrum, a yellowish precursor to breast milk that is rich in antibodies that protect newborns against infection.
  • When the breast milk comes in three or four days after birth, antibodies manufactured by the mother's immune system continue to pass to babies, helping them ward off infection for as long as they nurse.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely than formula-fed babies to develop digestive problems, ear infections, anemia, diabetes, and other health problems.

Breastfeeding even helps your baby's oral development. Breastfed babies have good cheekbone development, jaw alignment, and fewer speech impediments than bottle-fed babies. As a result, they are less likely to need braces or other orthodontic care later in life.

 

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Breastfeeding: Benefits for Mothers >>