The primary concern of every new mother is the nutrition of her baby. With newly emerging milk products and formulations available, many mothers try and avoid the hassle of breastfeeding. However, the importance of breast milk for the health of your baby cannot be ignored. Not only does the baby benefit, so does the mother! Go through these advantages of breastfeeding to find out why this beautiful experience is the best way to go.
Why breast milk?
Newborns are delicate and highly susceptible to disease and infection. Adequate care and nourishment is vital for their health and protection. Infant formulas do contain a few of the essential nutritional constituents required. However, they cannot replace breast milk, which is a natural source of all the nutrition and immunity your baby needs.
Breast milk holds its superiority, but why is it also important to breastfeed? The reasons are many, and they are not all related to nutrition. There are psychological, physical and economic advantages of breastfeeding as well.
Advantages for the baby
Reduced risk of illnesses – Breast milk contains the required antibodies that protect the baby against basic infections. It protects the baby against bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Breastfed babies are also less prone to develop diseases such as hypertension, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, juvenile diabetes and obesity later in life.
Reduced risk of allergies – Babies that are breastfed tend to have a late onset of hereditary allergic ailments such as respiratory problems.
Adapts according to needs of the baby – Breast milk tends to change composition with the growing needs of the baby. It contains the right amounts of proteins, fats, mineral, etc that are needed at different stages of development.
Improves dental health – The natural sucking reflex developed when a child breastfeeds makes him or her less likely to need orthodontic treatment later in life. Overall dental fitness, including facial bones, is better as well.
Prevents constipation – Since breast milk is easily digested by babies, they suffer from constipation less often. Moreover, the first milk that is excreted (colostrum) acts as a mild, natural laxative. This helps clean the intestines and prevents diseases such as jaundice. Encourages optimal development – Breast feeding teaches the baby to exert a little. It develops vital oral reflexes which help with future development and growth.
Better IQ – It has been seen that breastfed babies have an IQ that is 8 points higher than those who are not.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) – The incidence of SIDS is lesser in breastfed children.
Increases effectiveness of immunizations – Breastfeeding enhances protection against polio, malaria, tetanus and diphtheria.
Advantages for the mother
Uterine health – Breastfeeding immediately after giving birth causes the uterus to contract. This reduces the chances of postpartum bleeding and hemorrhage. The uterus is also toned back to its normal size quicker.
Natural weight loss – A mother burns calories when she breastfeeds. Almost 20 calories are burnt for the production of one ounce of milk! Weight loss is rapid during 3 to 12 months after giving birth.
Reduced risk of diseases – Women who breastfeed their babies for at least 6 months are less likely to develop breast cancer after menopause. The incidence of cervical cancer, type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis was found to be lesser in these women as well.
Protection against pregnancy – Breastfeeding can act as a natural contraceptive. The chances of conceiving again immediately are delayed in breastfeeding mothers.
Other advantages of breastfeeding
Mothers who breastfeed tend to feel more self-confident and satisfied. This also prevents psychological problems such as postpartum depression from occurring. Breast milk is always readily available.
Breast milk is fresh, clean and optimized at the right temperature.
Breastfeeding is economical and saves time. There is no hassle of finding the appropriate infant formula.