Breastfeeding and Your Child's Weight

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How does breast feeding impact my child's weight later in life?

David Ludwig, MD
There's been a lot of research lately, looking at the effects of breast feeding, not just on body weight, but overall health of a child over time, uh, as she grows into adulthood. And one reason why breast feeding can be so healthful is because of the nutrients in breast milk are designed through evolution to support the needs of an infant. But another reason is the relationship that develops between the infant and the mother in the process of feeding, and also the self control that an infant has when breast feeding that she doesn't have when bottle feeding. A bottle fed infant is usually regulated by the mother's desire to get the 4 ounces or six ounces in the bottle into the child, whereas an infant can feed when she's hungry and then stop feeding when she's full in exquisite balance with the internal satiety signals, they are signals that let us know when we've had enough to eat. So to be developing this relationship between food, satiety, and connection with mother at an early age may establish healthful patterns that last a lifetime, regulating our relationship with food.