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Why This Chicago Hospital Is Doubling Down on Breastfeeding

In an achievement worthy of praise, a Chicago hospital has earned the certification of “Baby Friendly USA” for its efforts — and success — in promoting breastfeeding for new moms and babies, Chicago Business reports. The designation makes Rush University Medical Center one of just over 400 in the nation with this certification.

Contrary to what infant formula companies want you to believe, infant formula cannot replace breast milk when it comes to protecting your baby's health and promoting healthy long-term development. In fact, breastfeeding offers a long list of life-long health benefits not just for the baby but for mother as well.

The amazing benefits of breastfeeding cannot be overstated. Breast milk is a perfect food for the human infant as it contains all the nutrients vital for healthy growth and development, plus beneficial microbes that promote a healthy gut microbiome. And, it benefits both premature babies as well as moms: In fact, one study showed that premature babies who received their mother’s milk had a 46 to 90 percent reduced risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disease that in 10 percent of severe cases causes blindness.

Additionally, people who were breastfed as infants had increased intelligence, longer schooling, and higher earning as adults. Breastfed infants also have lower rates of chronic and infectious diseases.

For moms, nearly 17 percent of women who lactated for a month or less had atherosclerotic plaques, a risk factor for heart disease, compared with less than 11 percent of those who breastfed for 10 months or longer.
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