Breastfeeding Can Help Reduce the Risk of Obesity
With obesity on the rise in America, including higher numbers of childhood obesity, one way to lower the risk of it in babies is found at home.
Breastfeeding, has long been considered the healthiest option for babies, and has been recently found to reduce the odds of children growing up obese.
While chubby babies are cute a fat baby is not necessarily a healthy baby, there are limits.
One possible explanation of the link between bottle-fed babies and obesity is that parents may tend to keep feeding a baby until a bottle is empty. Babies on the bottle may be developing larger appetites. Bottles are an easy solution when attempting to quiet restless babies, when hunger might not be the problem.
Breastfed babies also have greater control over the amount of milk they consume, choosing whether or not to nurse, which may lead to better appetite control in the future. Another guess is that breast milk could contain ingredients that program the baby’s metabolic rate.
Normal amounts of weight gain in a newborn baby, after the mother’s supply of milk has increased, is anywhere from one-half to one ounce per day until the baby reaches three months of life, after which weight increases should gradually taper off.
Parents should follow clues such as restlessness and sucking on fingers to let them know when a baby is hungry, rather than feeding them too much from a bottle. A good guideline for breastfeeding newborns is once every two to three hours, for a total of 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours.
Breastfeeding should be used exclusively for the first six months of life and should continue for at least one year, slowly introducing juice and solid food. Up to your baby’s first birthday breast milk should make up 80% of your baby’s diet.
Breast milk protects against a number of other illnesses in babies besides obesity, including type-1 diabetes, ear infections, lymphoma and diarrhea. In order to inform and teach people about the benefits of breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics designates each August as National Breastfeeding Month.
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