While in your womb, your baby gets his/her nourishment from you through the umbilical cord. As soon as your infant is born, he/she needs milk as his/her first food. The decision to breastfeed or formula-feed your baby is a critical choice you have to make as the mother. Many experts recommend exclusively breastfeeding infants for at least 6 months.
If you are not convinced or have not decided yet, here is a list of benefits that can help you make the decision and commitment to breastfeeding your child from infancy onwards.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Babies
1. Babies get complete nutrition throughout their growth stages.
Breastmilk contains the essential nutrients needed by your infant. It has the right combination of water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. It also has the hormones and growth factors that contribute to your baby’s growth and development.
What is amazing about breastmilk is that its components change as your baby grows.
During the first days of your baby, you produce Colostrum, which has a higher amount of protein, Vitamins A, E, and K. This thick and yellowish milk is the ideal milk for a newborn because it is very digestible even for its immature digestive tract.
From the second week, the Transitional milk you produce has a higher amount of fat, calories, and lactose, all of which are required by your baby for growth.
On your baby’s second month, the mature milk you produce is rich in protein, sugar, vitamins, and minerals to support your baby’s growth and development.
2. Babies get antibodies to build their immunity.
Breastmilk contains antibodies called Immunoglobulins. The immunoglobins that are found in the Colostrum help protect the infant from viruses and bacteria. Infants who are breastfed are less prone to have respiratory illness, gastrointestinal illness, and urinary tract infection.
When a breastfeeding mom is exposed to bacteria or a virus, she produces antibodies that fight those bacteria or viruses. The antibodies are secreted into her breastmilk, and so it passed on to the baby too.
The antibodies, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial agents cannot be replicated nor sourced from formula milk, which makes breastmilk superior over formula milk.
3. Babies are protected from allergies and eczema.
Breastfed babies are found to be less prone to food allergies, respiratory allergies, and eczema. The proteins found in cow’s milk or soymilk can trigger an allergic reaction.
4. Babies have a lower risk of acquiring many types of diseases.
Studies show that exclusively breastfed babies have a lower risk of getting a middle ear infection, respiratory tract infections, colds, gut infections, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and childhood leukemia.
Also, it has been observed that if a baby acquires any of the diseases, the severity is reduced compared to a formula-fed baby.
5. Babies have a better digestive system.
Infants have an immature digestive system, and their gastrointestinal tract does not produce digestive enzymes. Since breastmilk contains enzymes such as amylase and lipase, babies can digest it easily. Also, the breastmilk has a laxative effect, so the baby hardly gets constipated.
6. Babies have healthy weight gain.
Breastfed babies have higher leptin in their system. This hormone is responsible for regulating appetite and fat storage. The babies also have more beneficial gut bacteria, which helps with fat storage.
It has also been seen that breastfed babies learn how to self-regulate their milk feeding. They know when to stop and so the risk of overfeeding and obesity is lessened.
7. Babies’ vaccines become more effective.
According to studies, breastfed babies can better cope with the stress associated with getting vaccinated and have a better response to vaccines.
8. Babies are closer to their mothers.
The skin-to-skin contact is soothing to the newborn and helps establish the connection between mothers and their babies.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers
1. Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
Oxytocins are released to your system every time you breastfeed. This hormone causes contractions to your uterine, so it helps your uterus return back to its pre-pregnancy shape and size. Although the contractions may be uncomfortable, it enables you to heal and help reduce postpartum blood loss.
2. Breastfeeding moms have a lower risk of having Post Partum Depression
Another benefit of the oxytocins is that it appears to help prevent postpartum depression and anxiety among mothers who breastfeed. This hormone is said to encourage bonding by affecting the region of the brain that promotes nurturing and relaxation.
3. Breastfeeding burns calories.
Breastfeeding can help you lose that pregnancy weight. Research findings show that moms who exclusively breastfeed may burn around 500 calories a day. This is equivalent to doing 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise or cutting down on a meal.
4. Breastfeeding moms save time and money.
When you exclusively breastfeed, you don’t have to spend on formula milk, baby bottles, bottle cleaners, and other items needed when formula-feeding. You also save time from measuring the powder milk and sterilizing the baby bottles.
5. Breastfeeding mothers don’t have to bring a lot of baby stuff during their travels.
Packing for a trip is easier because you don’t have to bring any bottle feeding essentials. You also do not have to worry about making sure you have clean water for the formula milk and cleaning up after spills from mixing formula milk.
6. Breastfeeding mothers have lower risks of certain cancers and conditions.
Studies have shown that risks to get breast and ovarian cancer is lower for women who breastfed than those who did not. Some studies also show that breastfeeding lowers the risk of mothers developing heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.
7. Breastfeeding is natural birth control.
Exclusively breastfeeding mothers experience a pause in their ovulation and menstruation cycle. Although breastfeeding does not 100 percent full-proof birth control, some women enjoy this benefit.
That wraps up the list of breastfeeding benefits, which shows the importance of breastfeeding. That was a long list, wasn’t it?
Would you like us to give you some breastfeeding tips too? Let us know by putting your comment below.
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