Breast milk is perfectly balanced to suit a baby’s needs, in a way that cannot be imitated. Today, the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 4 to 6 months of the baby’s life, along with part-time breastfeeding accompanied by solid foods for up to one year of age. It possesses a great many subtle advantages that are only now being discovered. The research continues today, expanding our understanding of benefits to both the baby and the mother.
1. Protects the baby from illness:
The most convincing advantage is the presence of antibodies in the breast milk that prevent infections and allergies. These antibodies are not only specific to humans, but also specific to the mother; that is, they are generated in reaction to those infections that the mother has successfully fought off thus far in her life. They render the baby immune against threats from his surroundings. Of course, cow’s milk also contains antibodies but they only benefit the calf. Breastfeeding even increases the effectiveness of vaccines, which helps to ensure that your baby will get the maximum health benefits from each of his booster shots.
2. Boosts Child’s Intelligence:
Breastfeeding appears to increase slightly a child’s IQ at least through age fifteen. This may not only be associated with the brain-building fatty acids it contains, but to the intimacy and mother-baby communication that is built into breastfeeding (which fosters intellectual development).
3. Convenient and portable:
There are no bottles to clean or formula to worry about. Travelling is much easier; when the baby is hungry you just put it to your breast. There are none of the nightmares of trying to sterilize bottles and keep formula cold while traveling.
4. Easy on the budget:
Breastfeeding is less expensive than formulas, which are very costly. A peanut-butter sandwich on wheat bread and a glass of milk can provide the extra 500 calories and extra 20 grams of protein that a breastfeeding mother needs a day.
5. Protect the Child From Obesity:
6. Breast Milk Helps Pass Meconium:
Colostrum is a watery or creamy yellow liquid that precedes your milk supply. The Laxative effect of Colostrum clears meconium (the dark, tarry substance in the baby’s lower intestine at birth) from the bowels. Meconium contains bilirubin, which can be reabsorbed by the baby if it remains in the intestines. Too much bilirubin causes jaundice. The early appearance of milk is also important because it hydrates the baby and helps prevent high-level jaundice.
7. Reduces the Mothers Stress Level and Risk of Postpartum Depression:
According to National Institutes of Health, those mothers who didn’t breastfeed or who stopped breastfeeding early on have a higher risk of postpartum depression. As breastfeeding triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, it promotes nurturing and relaxation.
8. Reduces Risk of Some Type of Cancers:
Some experts say that there is a decreased incidence of Breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women who breastfeed.
9. Suckling helps to Shrink Mothers Uterus:
Nursing has another positive effect on your health since your child’s sucking triggers hormonal reactions in your body that help the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.
10. Breastfeeding is a Natural Contraceptive:
Breastfeeding suppresses ovulation and menstruation, at least to some degree. Though it should not be relied on for birth control, it may postpone the resumption of your periods for several months at least, as long as you are breastfeeding exclusively.
11. Lowers the Risk of SIDS:
Breastfed babies are less susceptible to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than bottle-fed babies.
12. Medical Considerations with Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding is usually advised against the diabetic mother. Initially, breastfeeding may be associated with hypoglycemic episodes; milk production is often deficient and nursing is rarely successful. However, breastfeeding can help offset the high-risk atmosphere associated with diabetic pregnancy, as well as, giving a diabetic mother the pleasure of nursing and of knowing her body can do it.
You may get very strong uterine contractions when you breastfeed during the first few weeks. /this is because the baby’s sucking releases the hormone oxytocin into your system, which makes your uterus contract. These contractions can be stronger after a first baby; you may need your childbirth techniques to stay comfortable.
Nothing is so natural and at the time so difficult as breastfeeding. It is worth the struggle because when you nurse the baby, he does more than eat, he regains a part of the physical connection to you that was lost a birth; You can give your complete attention to your baby at these moments and thus create, again and again, an island of togetherness, just for the two of you, in your busy daily routine.