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Q. Why is breastfeeding encouraged by so many health experts?

A. Breast milk provides the mix of nutrients that babies need for development. It supplies the right proportion of good proteins, carbohydrates and fats, including the omega-3 fats that may benefit a baby’s brain development. It’s believed that it also contains factors that support a baby’s immature immune system. What’s more, breastfeeding may help a woman return to her pre-baby weight. Six to eight of the pounds a woman gains during pregnancy are to ensure that she will be able to supply the energy needed to lactate: producing breast milk burns about an additional 500 calories per day.

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