Overall Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has many benefits for both baby and new mom and is perhaps one of the biggest decisions that you have to make as a new mother. It is also one that is most likely to attract the greatest number of strong opinions from your friends and family.
While some women are unable to breastfeed their babies, there are also some who decide not to. Breastfeeding is entirely a personal decision, and whether you decide to do it or not is entirely up told you.
However, your decision could shape the entire life of your baby and your health as a mother.
This is why you should read up on the facts and figures about what breastfeeding is and how it benefits you and your baby to make an informed decision of whether or not it is right for you and your baby.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for The Baby
Doctors have always recommended breastfeeding for babies until at least six months of age because of the huge number of benefits it has for them. The following are just a few of the scientifically proven health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby.
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1. Ideal Nutrition
There is no doubt about the fact that nature has a cure for every illness and every disease. Similarly, something so natural and beautiful, like breastmilk has the most nutritious value for your baby.
Doctors recommended feeding your baby nothing but breastmilk for their first six months in this world because breastmilk has everything they need in the right quantity.
According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Clinic of North America, as the baby grows older, the composition of breastmilk changes according to the changing nutritional needs of the baby.
The first few days after birth are the most crucial for the baby’s health, and during this time, the breastmilk is thick and yellowish in color. This is called colostrum. It is high in protein, and other compounds, which are is highly beneficial for the development of the baby’s digestive tract.
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Antibodies are substances that help fight off bacteria and viruses. Because babies lack the immunity to survive, such antibodies are extremely crucial for their wellbeing.
The first milk, colostrum, contains several antibodies including immunoglobin A. This is because when a mother contracts a virus, her body automatically starts producing antibodies which are then transferred through the breastmilk to the baby, as suggested by the Journal of Pediatrics.
The antibody immunoglobin A protects the baby against viruses and bacteria by forming a layer in the baby’s throat, nose, and digestive system.
Studies have shown that babies who are not breastfed are more prone to contracting infections like pneumonia and diarrhea because formula milk does not contain antibodies that are needed to provide protection.
3. Ideal Body Weight
As cute as chubby babies look, childhood obesity is a disease that can because of the cause of a variety of different physical and mental issues later on in a child’s life.
Therefore, it is important that your baby gets the right form of nutrition in his early days in order to grow naturally but not gain excessive weight.
Various studies have shown that children who have been breastfed in their early months have a significantly lesser chance of developing obesity. This is because breastmilk helps in the development of beneficial gut bacteria, which affects the storage of fat.
Moreover, babies that also breastfeed automatically regulate their milk intake, which prevents the development of unhealthy eating patterns.
4. Long-Term Brain Development
Research has shown that breastfeeding has a significant positive impact on the brain development of children. This can be attributed to the increased level of physical intimacy between a breastfeeding baby and the mother.
Moreover, babies who are breastfed are also less likely to develop behavioral issues and problems with learning.
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Benefits of Breastfeeding for The Mom
While many people tend to focus on how breastfeeding is beneficial for a baby in his early days, it is also important to note the various positive impacts it can have on the health of the mother as well.
While breastfeeding may seem like a daunting task, it actually proves to be all worth it in the end.
1. Post-Partum Weight Loss
One of the major consequences of pregnancy is the excessive weight gain that any mothers have a difficult time getting rid of. However, one natural and perhaps a rather underestimated way to reduce weight is breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding your baby can actually help you lose weight because the body may burn fat to produce milk. Studies have shown that you have a higher chance of losing weight after the first three months of breastfeeding. (Not everybody will respond the same way.)
However, this is something that varies from person to person.
2. Lower Risk of Post-Partum Depression
Post-partum depression is a mental health disorder that affects around 15% of new mothers all over the world, as suggested by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
However, studies have shown that women who breastfeed after giving birth are less likely to develop it because of certain hormonal changes induced by breastfeeding.
These include an increase in the amount of oxytocin, which can have a positive impact on anxiety in the long run while also promoting relaxation and nurturing.
3. Less Time and Money
Perhaps the most obvious and “capitalistic” benefit of breastfeeding for the mom is the fact that it requires no bottles, no sterilization, and no warming up.
Breastmilk is always ready to drink for the baby, which makes it extremely hygienic, convenient, and hassle-free.
When you choose to breastfeed, you save money on formula and save precious time, which would otherwise be spent on washing, sterilizing, and warming up bottles.
Why Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?
According to the World Health Organization, “Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.”
Breastfeeding is the best natural way to protect your baby against illnesses and to provide it with the most balanced nutrition that is needed to ensure healthy growth and proper brain development.
Breastfeeding is one of the easiest and the most cost-effective ways of ensuring that your baby lives a lifetime of good health without the risk of obesity, diabetes, or other issues.
Additionally, breastfeeding your baby can decrease your vulnerability to ovarian or breast cancer. It can also improve and regulate your blood pressure and reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes.
Also, breastfeeding can help you develop an unbreakable bond with your baby. Spending time with your newborn in his early days is extremely special as you get to know about each other and make precious memories.
Breastfeeding allows that intimacy to exist in the early days and gives you the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with your baby without having to worry about warming up bottles or getting more formula from the store.
These moments spent with your newborn improve your mental health as well as that of your baby and can promote a healthier, more loving relationship between you two later on as he grows up.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months, if not longer, and then combined with some natural foods as he grows.
However, it is important to note that these observations are solely based on findings from studies and do not, in any way, infer that you will not have a strong bond with your baby or that your baby will get sick if you do not breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is an entirely personal decision, and while it has its benefits, it is sometimes not for everybody.