There are Benefits of Breastfeeding for both the mother and baby. But it also depends on the personal preferences that whether you want to breastfeed or not. Before you make any decision regarding mother feed, have a look at the countless advantages of mother milk. It is the best food choice for infants. Breast milk not only contains all the essential nutrients for baby growth and development but also easy to digest. Exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and it will continue to 1 year or longer after the introduction of solid food. World Health Organization (WHO) suggests breastfeeding for 2 years or longer. As it has many benefits.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Here we will discuss the benefits for both the baby and mother separately.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby
1 Provides Complete Nutrition
Mother milk is complete and ideal for babies. Therefore start breastfeeding within half an hour of the delivery. As the digestive system is very sensitive, so breast milk is what the baby’s GI needs. The composition change according to the infant’s needs and requirements. Colostrum is the first milk. It is thick and yellowish in high in proteins, low in carbohydrates and rich in healthy microbiota. That will help to build the digestive system. However, there is no substitute for the Colostrum. So the quantity and composition of milk change according to the baby’s stomach. Only Vitamin D drops administers as mother milk lack Vitamin D. This is the only thing not present in breastmilk.
2 Boost Immunity as it contains Antibodies
Colostrum, the first milk has the bulk amount of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and other antibodies. They help in the fight against bacteria and viruses. Moreover, the presence of antibodies boosts the immune system of the baby. The antibodies defend against foreign substances for example antigens. Especially IgA makes a layer in the nose, throat and digestive system of the baby. This layer will provide protection against diseases. Those who are on formula milk, they can easily get diarrhea, pneumonia and infectious diseases more rapidly than breastfed babies.
3 Lowers the Risk of Diseases
Exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing diseases in infants. Although exclusive means only breast milk without the addition of any other food. So it decreases the occurrence chances of the following diseases:
The babies who get the breastmilk in infancy have a reduced risk of developing Diabetes Type I and Type II in adulthood. Furthermore, diabetes occurs when the beta cells of the pancreas do not synthesize insulin.
- Respiratory Tract Infection
Breastfeeding lowers the chances of acute illness and respiratory infections. As antibodies protect the respiratory system by making a protective layer.
- Gut Infection
As mother milk contains microflora. So it reduces the risk of gut infections and related diseases.
- Infection of Middle Ear
One of the significant Benefits of Breastfeeding that it reduces middle ear infection, sinus and throat. But it may develop in babies who are at formula feeding. Bottle-feeding causes many health issues for instance diarrhea, vomiting and infections.
- Cold and Infection
The infants who get exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months infect less than those who are not. So they are strong enough to fight. Cold or other infections do not attack them.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sometimes SIDS occurs. To lower its occurs give breastmilk to the child exclusively.
- Intestinal Tissue Damage
It has been seen that feeding breast milk to preterm babies reduces the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, gastroenteritis etc.
- Bowel Diseases
Exclusive breastfeeding decreases the chances of bowel disease such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative colitis.
Allergies like eczema, asthma and atopic dermatitis are lower in breastfeeding babies.
- Childhood Leukemia
Breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months reduces the risk of developing childhood leukemia. Moreover, It makes the baby healthy and physically fit.
4 Promotes Healthy Weight
It is necessary to maintain weight to survive a healthy life. But sometimes some become overweight or obese in childhood or later life. Moreover, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continue it to 2 hours with solid food reduces the risk of obesity and overweight. Breast milk promotes healthy weight gain. As is discussed earlier that mother milk contains bacteria, so there also some beneficial bacteria that affect fat storage. The studies have shown there is high leptin concentration in breastfeeding children than in formula milk. Leptin regulates the appétit and fat storage in the body. Mother milk not only initiates appetite but also satisfies hunger.
Breastfeeding makes the child smarter and intelligent. Although there is a difference in brain development between breastfeeding children and formula milk feeding babies. This difference is in touch, eye contact and physical affinity. Because there is a significant difference in nutrients content and composition of milk. Children who get exclusive breastfeeding during infancy have the ability to solve problems in later life. They get more scores in intelligence and learning. Hence there is a significant impact on brain development.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother
6 Uterus Contraction
The uterus is a muscular organ that is part of the female reproductive system. However, the size of the uterus expands from the small-sized ear to the whole abdomen during pregnancy. Additionally, the uterus returns to its original size after delivery through a process called involution. A hormone known as Oxytocin carries this process. The female body releases a high amount of Oxytocin during labor which helps in delivery and reduces blood loss. After delivery, stay breastfeeding to your baby. It releases Oxytocin that will reduce the bleeding and contact the uterus to its previous size. Hence the studies have shown the uterus contraction with exclusive breastfeeding.
7 Weight Loss
Women gain weight during pregnancy. Furthermore, there is fat deposition which may reduce after delivery. The women who give exclusive breastfeeding to their babies, lose weight faster as compared to those who do not feed their infants. So lactating mothers can see a difference in their weight after 3 months. It will burn calories.
8 Lowers Depression
In some cases, women have Postpartum Depression (PPD). It is a type of depression that occurs after childbirth. But it is not common in those women who breastfeed their babies and mostly occurs in non-lactating mothers. Furthermore, this depression sometimes causes trouble in breastfeeding. If a female develops this PPD, she should consult the doctor. So exclusive breastfeeding is the preventive measure. 2 years of breastfeeding is recommended hence try to feed your babies according to their requirements.
9 Lowers the Risk of Diseases
Like babies, breastfeeding reduces the risk of diseases in mothers. Moreover, it not only protect from cancers but also from diseases. Lactating mothers have lowered risk of ovarian and breast cancer. The following diseases are less in breastfeeding females.
- Heart Diseases
- High Blood Fats
10 Delays Menstruation
Continual breastfeeding till 2 years delays the process of ovulation and menstruation. It is a natural process. Therefore suspension in menstruation creates a gap between pregnancies. So this is beneficial for both the mother and child. The Mother can focus on the baby more perfectly. On the other hand, when a women get second pregnancy soon she will not be able to pay attention.
11 Saves Time and Money
The significant benefits Benefits of Breastfeeding are that it saves time and money. It is free and you do not extra time to prepare.
- If a mother chooses to breastfeed she won’t have to
- Calculate the quantity of milk that baby needs daily.
- Spend money on formula milk(powder milk).
- Wash the bottles.
- Make and mix the formula milk at night.
- Heat the milk while you are on a trip.
Hence the mother milk is ideal for infants. After 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, weaning starts. Weaning is the introduction of solid or semi-solid food in infants’ diets.
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