Breastfeeding and Autism

Mother breastfeedingWe’ve all heard the saying “breast is best” and it is fantastic that women are being encouraged to breastfeed their babies because it has so many benefits for both mother and baby.

This month has been chosen by the US Department of Health and Human Services as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and the department has launched a campaign to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding .

Breast fed babies are at a lower risk of:-

  • Allergies
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Respiratory infections
  • Ear infections
  • Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Obesity
  • Infections

Women who have breastfed/are breastfeeding their babies:-

  • Have a lower risk of contracting breast cancer, ovarian cancer and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Are at a lower risk of Postpartum Depression
  • Burn 500 calories a day by breastfeeding alone and so can return to their pre-pregnancy weight quicker
  • Can save a significant amount of money when compared to those who buy formula – It is estimated that a breastfeeding mom can save between $1,160 and $3,915 depending on the brand of formula the comparison is made against.

Moms are advised to give their babies breastmilk alone for the first 6 months of life (i.e. no weaning) and to try and breastfeed for the baby’s first year.

Breastfeeding and Autism

But hasn’t breastfeeding been linked to an increased risk of autism?

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