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Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed

From shedding that pregnancy weight to lowering baby's risk of cancer, we've rounded up the best reasons to breastfeed -- and some may surprise you.

Photo: Erin McFarland Photography

Chances are you've heard about at least some of the benefits of breastfeeding -- like boosting baby's brainpower and upping your bonding time. But we're willing to bet there are still some selling points that may surprise you. Read on as we highlight the best reasons to breastfeed that we've heard yet.

1. You'll feel far less crazy (we promise!)
A study of postpartum mamas found that those who breastfed their babies showed far less anxiety and more mutuality at one month postpartum than those who didn't.

2. It lowers the risk of childhood cancers
One study found the risk of childhood cancer in formula-fed children was 2-8 times that of long-term breastfed children. The risk for short-term formula feeders was 1-9 times that of long-term breast feeders.

3. ...And breast cancer in mamas!
Get this: If women who breast fed for less than 3 months were to stick it out for 4 to 12 months, breast cancer among parous premenopausal women could be reduce by 11%. And if they stayed with it for 24 months or longer, those risks could be reduced by nearly 25%.

4. Smart kids rule
Studies show that breastfed babies have significantly higher IQs by 8 years old than babies who didn't breastfeed -- even after adjusting the stats for differences between groups and Mom's educational and social class.

5. You could save on braces
The longer you breastfeed, the lower the liklihood that baby will suffer from malocclusion -- aka a fancy word for misalignment of the teeth and dental arches.

6. It cuts down on childhood obesity
Breastfeeding has long been tied with reducing the rate of childhood obesity, regardless of Mom's diabetes or weight status.

7. Allergies and ailments are no biggie
Respiratory wheezing, influenza, diarrhea, allergies, and eczema are way less common in breastfed babies -- think about all those trips to the doc you won't have to make!

8. It saves lives -- and government money!
If just 90% of US mamas breastfed exclusively for 6 months, not only would an estimated 900 babies live, but the United States would save $13 billion per year. (Yep, $13 BILLION.)

9. Oh, and it'll save you a ton of cash, too
Believe it or not, formula supplies for just six months can cost upwards of $1,000.

10. You'll fit into your skinny jeans faster!
Breastfeeding burns an average of 500 calories a day. Yes, really. Need we say more?