Breastfeeding provides infants with an abundance of nutrients that give them a healthy start to life. The sticky, yellowish breast milk produced by mothers is described by the World Health Organization, as “the perfect food for the newborn.”

But, why should a mother breastfeed? The infographic below displays over 100 health benefits of breastfeeding for a mother, her baby, and society.

Read: Vaccine Rumors And Breastfeeding: Report That Said CDC Told Moms To Delay Breastfeeding Debunked

A majority of mothers in the United States start out breastfeeding, but at the end of six months, many stop. One of the maternal, infant, and child health goals of Healthy People 2020 is to increase the proportion of infants who are breastfeed. Another goal is to reduce the proportion of infants who receive formula, rather than breast milk, within their first two days after birth.

Breastfeeding provides benefits for not only the infant, but the mother as well. Scientific research has shown that moms who choose to breastfeed have a reduced risk of certain cancers including breast and ovarian cancers. Breastfeed babies also have a reduced overall risk of cancer, as well as, less DNA damage and Hodgkin’s disease.

If a mother decides to breastfeed, the WHO recommends this type of feeding exclusively up to 6 months of age. After this time, the baby’s diet should include other foods, in addition to breast milk, until about 2 years of age or older.

Although breastfeeding may become stressful and give a mother swollen nipples, there’s a number of benefits that many moms may not consider. For example, breastfeeding saves a lot of money. Also, research has shown it promotes a faster loss of pregnancy weight, as noted in the infographic. Exclusive breastfeeding is also also associated with a natural method of birth control.

Benefits continue to extend beyond a mother, her baby, and even family. Some societal benefits include lower medical expenses for everyone, fewer sick days taken by mom and kids, increased work productivity, and less air pollution.

But, why isn’t infant formula favored?

Many people often wonder why breast milk is recommended. Infant formula doesn’t have the antibodies found in breast milk, the WHO notes. Also, the long-term benefits of breastfeeding for a mother and child can’t be replicated with formula. One of the long-term benefits for those who were breastfeed is that they’re less likely to be overweight or obese as adults. They are also less likely to have Type 2 diabetes and more often perform better on IQ tests.

 

The 111 Benefits of Breastfeeding by MomLovesBest.com

This infographic originally appeared on MomLovesBest, a parenting blog by Jenny Silverstone, which provides, tips, tricks, and product recommendations for moms. Silverstone was originally on the fence about breastfeeding her child, but one day came across a website which listed a long lists of benefits. She then decided to compile what she learned into an infographic, to share with other mothers who might be trying to make a decision too.  

See also: A Short Guide To Reading A Milk Label: Fat Content, Lactose, Or Raw, Plus Other Terms On The Carton

Benefits Of Breastfeeding Are Not Limited To The Baby; It May Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk In Some Mothers, Too