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The Benefits of Breastfeeding

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As a new mom or dad, it can be overwhelming to wade through the incredible number of books…and articles…and blogs…and vlogs (phew!) about pregnancy and parenting. When it comes to facts around nourishment and the best way to make sure baby gets all of the good stuff he or she needs, popular literature has a lot to say about breastfeeding. There are the more “scientific” benefits described, like:

Benefit #1:  Healthier Baby

  • Babies who are fed a formula based on cow's milk or soy tend to have more allergic reactions than breastfed babies

  • Babies breastfed exclusively for 6 months are less likely to have respiratory illnesses pneumonia, colds, viruses, ear infections and gastrointestinal infections. When they do happen they’re less severe

  • Breastfeeding your baby can reduce his or her risk of developing chronic conditions, such as type I diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease

  • Breastfed babies have a lower risk of obesity

  • Breastfeeding can decrease your baby’s risk of some childhood cancer

Benefit #2: Smarter Baby

  • Some researchers have found a connection between breastfeeding and cognitive development.

  • In one study, they found from IQ scores and other intelligence tests that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding significantly improves cognitive development

Benefit #3: Lower Risk of SIDS

Benefit #4: Healthier, Happier Mom

  • According to one study, women who didn't breastfeed or who stopped breastfeeding early on had a higher risk of postpartum depression

  • Nursing triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which can help with relaxation and help your uterus contract and return to normal size after birth, resulting in less postpartum bleeding

  • Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis

  • They also have a lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer

Benefit  #5: Customized Milk Supply

  • Unlike formula, your breast milk changes as baby grows. For example, Colostrum, which comes in after you deliver—is full of antibodies to protect your newborn baby

  • This awesome video shows how the changing milk color reflects that it’s morphing its chemistry to match baby’s needs

There are also the less measurable benefits that can come with breastfeeding, like:

Benefit #6: Fostering Mom-Baby Connection

  • When you’re feeding with a bottle, it’s easy to see how much baby has eaten—but with breastfeeding, you’ll have to rely on instinct and will get to know his or her cues a little better to know if baby’s full


While these benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby documented widely, a lot of the medical literature isn’t exactly sure about how strong these benefits actually are when babies who are breastfed are compared to formula-fed babies. At the end of the day, moms who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed are not harming their kids by feeding them formula, and we support the decision of mom to do what works for her.

What do you think? Are you Team Breast Milk or Team Formula?




  • Dominique: April 09, 2016

    As a mom who doesn’t have the option of breastfeeding I’m annoyed by this article. We want to hear about your cute products and great sales. I don’t even understand how this is relevant or why it came to my inbox from your brand. EVERYONE knows there are benefits to breastfeeding, no one is saying breastfeeding isnt awesome. But there is need for this type of discouragement. We are all doing the very best we have with the very best we’ve got.

  • Dee A.: April 09, 2016

    No doubt that there are benefits of breastfeeding, but most of these mentioned above have not been proved or even studied in a scientifically rigorous way. Breastfeeding causing higher IQ?? Oh please.

  • Jennifer L.: April 09, 2016

    I am certain that most of the shoppers at Under the Nile are pro-breastfeeding, regardless if they were able to or not. I mean, if you’ve researched far enough to know want organic baby clothes for your kid, you likely know the benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding. My mom lived in the wrong time and fed me formula because it was “better.” It’s good to get it straight and recognize the benefits of breastfeeding, but we don’t need to hammer it home in ways that are harsh to those who can’t breastfeed their own precious babies. I can’t say I was always a “happier” breastfeeding mom and I have eight long years under my belt, along with baby number three on the way with a good three or four more years to go (I type this as my middle curls up for “snuggle drinkies.”

  • Jen: April 08, 2016

    This article is ridiculously one sided. If you want to post an article about the benefits of breastfeeding, just do that. But don’t use the pretext of comparing formula vs breast milk and then only list the virtues of one. That’s just silly. this article is borderline offensive, and certainly demoralizing, to women who try but are unable to breastfeed

  • Melissa: April 08, 2016

    I think dividing moms into “teams” is unnecessary and divisive. Most everyone knows the benefits of breast feeding. Those who aren’t breast feeding their babies usually can’t!

  • Isabella: April 08, 2016

    I am a Team Breast Milk!
    Nursing my baby is one the most beautiful and fulfilling experience of my life.

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