Skip to main content

Breastfeeding offers many health benefits

“In my practice, I encourage new moms to consider breastfeeding their new baby because of its many benefits. Breastfeeding helps support optimal growth and development for an infant’s first six months of life and provides ongoing protection against many diseases,” says Teresa Romero, M.D., a specialist in Pediatrics at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – The Woodlands.

The primary benefit of breast milk is nutritional.

“Human milk contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water and amino acids for human digestion, brain development and growth. Even though infant formula comes a close second to breast milk, the chemical make-up of breast milk is unmatched,” says Dr. Romero.

“A mother produces antibodies to diseases that are present in her environment, making her milk custom-tailored to fight some of the diseases her baby is exposed to as well. Studies have shown that breast-fed babies may have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers the mother’s antibodies directly to her baby,” notes Dr. Romero.

About 80 percent of the cells in breast milk kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Breastfed babies are generally better protected from germs and illnesses like the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections.

“Breastfed babies can still get sick,” adds Dr. Romero. “Fortunately, the illness may be relatively less severe and lengthy than if the baby were not receiving breast milk. While a child’s immune system is developing, he may be better protected by being breastfed. His own immune system may also develop more rapidly than does baby who is fed formula.”