Breastfeeding a newborn is very important since there are many benefits of breastfeeding for the infants and the mother as well. Breast milk is considered the best form of milk for infants from birth to six months. In fact, it is recommended to be the sole source of nutrition for infants up to six months, but mothers may continue breastfeeding up to the child’s second birthday. Other cultures continue breastfeeding until 5 years of age. This recommendation in using breastfeeding for infants has a strong basis since there are several benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk provides emotional, immunological as well as nutritional benefits to infants and other children.
For babies, breast milk is the best food in order to promote growth and development because of its various benefits to babies.
The following are the benefits of breastfeeding and why it is best to offer your child breast milk instead of formula feeding:
- Breastfeeding is an unequaled source of infant feeding. Despite advertisements regarding the benefits of various formula milks, breastfeeding is still on top of these because it provides the best composition of milk that a baby may ingest. Breast milk contains various nutrients that are not found in formula feeding such as colostrum, antibodies, right amount of proteins and vitamins.
- Breastfeeding provides babies with antibodies used for protecting against certain types of infection. No formula milk contains antibodies that may help babies fight certain infections. Breast milk usually contains maternal antibodies that are passed to the infant. For instance, when a mother has developed immunity to childhood illnesses, the antibodies transferred may also protect the child from these infections.
- Breastfeeding prevents gastroenteritis and indigestion. Breast milk is easier to digest than commercial milk products; thereby reducing possibilities of indigestion. In addition, breast milk is always sterile preventing gastrointestinal infections. Infants with lactose intolerance will also benefit from breast milk because it does not contain lactose that may trigger gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Breastfeeding enhances mother and child bonding. Since infants primarily need the touch and acknowledgement of their mothers, breastfeeding allows more bonding between mothers and their infants; enhancing the development of trust of the baby.
- Improves mental development. According to studies, children who were breast fed during infancy developed higher IQ than the general population.
For mothers, breastfeeding is also best because of the following benefits for them:
- Breastfeeding is economical. Mothers are not required to buy expensive formula milk because breast milk is free and always available.
- Delays menses. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is able to delay menses because of prevention of maturation of the follicles or what we call the immature egg cells. Delaying menses means preventing another pregnancy that may happen hence promoting family planning.
- Promotes Weight Loss. Breastfeeding also promotes weight loss after delivery, which is usually the problem of women who had gained weight during pregnancy.
- Prevents diabetes and cancer. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk for the development of type 2 diabetes in mothers. In addition, breastfeeding also reduces the risk for breast cancer.
Since breastfeeding is found to be more beneficial than formula milk, certain countries have already passed a law requiring exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months, except in cases deemed inappropriate. Hospitals are also promoting early breastfeeding immediately after delivery to establish early mother and child bonding. Make sure to utilize your breast milk after delivery to provide the best nutrition for your child.
Share Your Experiences:
Did you breastfed your child after delivery? If yes, share the benefits you experienced by breastfeeding your child.
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