1. WHO strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, other foods should complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more. In addition:
- breastfeeding should begin within an hour of birth;
- breastfeeding should be "on demand", as often as the child wants day and night; and
- bottles or pacifiers should be avoided.
3. Breastfeeding also benefits mothers. The practice when done exclusively often induces a lack of menstruation, which is a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control. It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, and lowers rates of obesity.
4. Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, as well as lower rates of overweight, obesity and type-2 diabetes. There is evidence that people who were breastfed perform better in intelligence tests.
5. Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk and is linked to some risks, such as water-borne diseases that arise from mixing powdered formula with unsafe water (many families lack access to clean water). Malnutrition can result from over-diluting formula to "stretch" supplies. Further, frequent feedings maintain the breast milk supply. If formula is used but becomes unavailable, a return to breastfeeding may not be an option due to diminished breast milk production.
Any guesses on the next 5 facts?Check back tomorrow for the rest!