Benefits of Breastfeeding – Why Nature’s Baby Food Trumps All
While Breastfeeding week has just ended but the importance of breastfeeding is not just confined to this week however it’s such an important and Nobel cause and practice that everybody including young mothers or parents needs to understand why it is important and why there is so much talk about breast feeding babies.
With the advancement in health science over the past decades, importance of breastfeeding and recommendations for this practice is increasing. WHO ( World Health organization) says that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood for both child and mother.
Breastfeeding is an act of nursing and feeding babies with mother’s milk. Women’s breast milk provides ideal nutrition to the infant. It consists of vitamins, protein, and fat which your baby needs to grow.
Along with benefits of breastfeeding, I will try to elaborate everything about the advantages and role of breastfeeding so that it can create some awareness among general public.
The first and the foremost thing is to understand what is the importance of breastmilk.
Breastmilk is the best gift a mother can give to her baby ever and it is the perfect food for the baby.
Breast milk contains and all the nutrients for normal growth and development of a baby from the time of birth to the first 6 months of life.
It contains antibodies, which are very important for the baby to fight against viruses and bacteria. It is usually recommended by the doctors to feed babies with mother’s milk for at least a year. Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for the infant but also for the mother.
ADVANTAGES OF BREASTFEEDING
Food on the go:
First and foremost, breastmilk is extremely portable and is always fresh and served at the right temperature, plus it’s free. It’s a blessing when you travel with your baby as you have the choice to feed him anytime, without the hassle of sterilising bottles.
Loaded with immunoglobulins:
Important immunoglobulins like IgA and anti-infective properties are passed on to the baby through breastmilk. This reduces the baby’s risk of developing illnesses and allergies.
Keeps cancer away:
Research shows that women who breastfeed their babies are less likely to develop breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
There’s no waiting when your baby is hungry. You don’t have to mix formula or clean and sterilise bottles and nipples.
Breast milk is free. It’s estimated that breastfeeding helps you save money.
You won’t have formula cans to throw away or use water and energy washing bottles.
The very first benefit parents should be aware of “Healthier baby”. Breastfeeding shapes good healthy baby for healthy living lifestyle.
Let us see what the benefits of breastfeeding for both baby and mother are.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING TO THE BABY
Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs for normal growth and development, in an optimum proportion and in a form that is easily digested and absorbed.
Lactose is in a high concentration (6-7 g/ dL) in breast milk. It helps in absorption of calcium and enhances the growth of lactobacilli, the good bacteria, in the intestine.
The protein content of breast milk is low (0.9-1.1 g/dL).Human milk contains amino acids like taurine and cysteine which are necessary for neuro-transmission and neuromodulation. These are lacking in cow milk and formula.
Breast milk is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, necessary for the myelination of the nervous system.
Vitamins and Minerals
The quantity and bioavailability of vitamins and minerals is sufficient to the needs of the baby in the first 6 months of life.
Water and Electrolytes
Breast milk has a water content of 88% and hence a breastfed baby does not require any additional water in the first few months of life even during summer months.
A breastfed baby is 14 times less likely to die of diarrhoea and almost four times less likely to die of respiratory infection.
- Protection against other illnesses
- Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhoea and vomiting)
- Atopic disease (including eczema and asthma)
- Urinary tract infections
- Respiratory infections (pneumonia, cough and cold)
- Obesity in childhood and later life
- Type 1 and 2 diabetes in childhood or later life
- Some childhood cancers (leukemia and lymphoma)
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Reduces Tooth decay and infections in the mouth.
- Heart disease and liver disease in adulthood
- Lower risk of allergy, ear infections, orthodontic problems, diabetes, heart disease and lymphoma in later life.
Studies have shown that babies who were breastfed had a higher IQ than those babies who were given other forms of milk.
It is not only babies who benefit from breast feeding, mother’s health also will be in good condition.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING TO THE MOTHER
- Breastfeeding soon after birth helps uterine involution, reducing chances of postpartum haemorrhage.
- It provides protection against pregnancy due to lactational amenorrhea.
- It reduces the risk of cancer of breast and ovary.
- Reduce the risk of mothers with gestational diabetes developing type 2 diabetes.
- May reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Breast-feeding is the most effective way of shedding extra weight that mother has gained during pregnancy. Breast-feeding is the most effective way of shedding extra weight that mother has gained during pregnancy.
- Prolactin, the milk-making hormone, seems to produce a special calmness in mothers.
- It gives a satisfied feel of motherhood and improves the emotional bonding between the mother and the baby.