Dr. Rachel: Why breast milk is like ‘liquid gold’ for your baby

NEW ORLEANS -- Breastmilk provides everything that your baby needs to grow and be healthy.

According to our teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel Reitan, it is recommended that your baby gets breast milk exclusively for the first six months of their life.

Breastfeeding should then continue for at least the first year or longer as you add food to your baby's diet.

Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight viruses, bacteria and diseases. It also contains the vitamins, proteins and fat that your baby requires. And amazingly -- your body will make the exact milk to meet your baby's needs.

Breast-fed kids have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, diarrhea and have fewer hospitalizations.

They have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies, as well as a reduced risk of developing diabetes, Celiac disease and Crohns disease.

Breast-fed babies are more likely to gain the appropriate amount of weight as they grow rather than becoming overweight kids.

Breast feeding also provides the closeness and eye contact that help babies bond and feel secure.

And -- breast-fed kids have higher IQ scores.

Breast milk is easier for your baby to digest than formula.

If that's not evidence enough to support breastfeeding, then let's talk about some of the benefits for mom.

Breast feeding burns more calories so you are able to lose your pregnancy weight. It also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer as well as type 2 diabetes.

Breast milk is so important, we now have breast milk banks so woman who cannot breast feed can still give their babies the liquid gold.

If you have any medical questions, you can email Dr. Rachel at drrachel@wgno.com.