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The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Martha Margreiter, MD
Martha Margreiter, MD

Breastfeeding can be an essential benefit in the development of infants. Martha Margreiter, MD, pediatrician at Saint Francis Clinic Poplar Bluff, explains the variety of benefits that come with breastfeeding.

“Without a doubt, mother’s milk alone promotes optimum health and development for babies. It is uniquely designed to meet the complete nutritional needs of the growing human infant,” says Margreiter. Human breastmilk can protect infants from illnesses, assist with babies’ intellectual, motor and visual development and affect the child through childhood, youth and adulthood.

“Some studies suggest breastfed babies have lower cholesterol levels and less coronary artery disease, are more protected against digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis, have lower rates of asthma and are at lower risk for diabetes and cancers,” notes Margreiter. Recent international studies have also found children who are breastfed tend to have higher IQs and excel in reading, writing, mathematics and other school subjects.

Not only are there great benefits from breastmilk, but breastfeeding also creates a significant bond between mother and child. “Nursing women produce hormones that promote a physiologic bonding between mother and child, helping to meet the emotional needs of a child,” acknowledges Margreiter.

Due to these significant benefits, “the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be offered only breastmilk for the first six months after birth, and that breastfeeding continues throughout the first year and then as long as mutually desired,” says Margreiter.


To make an appointment with one of our skilled pediatric providers, call 573-727-5500.

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