There is certainly a deluge of information if you’ve been thinking about not breastfeeding your newborn. Of course, you can always decide for yourself, yet the advantages seem limitless.
What Are The Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Your Baby?
For newborns, breast milk is the best source of nutrients. It is readily available, quickly digested, and contains the correct nutrients. That’s why it’s the best and most natural way of feeding your child in the beginning. Read on to learn more about the advantages and why you should prepare for breastfeeding:
The Perfect Nutrition
As already mentioned, many medical practitioners advise breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months and preferably much longer. That’s because everything a newborn requires in the appropriate amounts for the first six months of life is present in breast milk. It’s made up of different ingredients depending on the baby’s changing needs, especially in the first month of life.
Your breasts generate colostrum, a viscous, yellowish fluid, in the early postpartum period. It has a lot of healthy ingredients and is rich in protein and low in sugar. Because of its features, it’s the perfect food to support the development of newborns. In other words, it is an actual miracle food that cannot be replaced by formula. The only missing ingredient is vitamin D, which you can usually add with dedicated supplement drops.
In those delicate, early months, antibodies found in breast milk are crucial for helping your infant fight off viruses and bacteria. This fact is specifically true for colostrum. The latter is abundant in Immunoglobulin A (IgA), as well as a number of other antibodies. They serve as a barrier against viruses or bacteria in the baby’s nose, throat, and digestive tract. Typically, babies who are not breastfed are more susceptible to infections, diarrhea, and health problems like pneumonia.
Breastfeeding Reduces Risks of Illnesses
Exclusive breastfeeding, in which the infant only consumes breast milk, is especially advantageous. Some of the perks include lowering your baby’s risk of contracting a variety of conditions, including:
- Middle ear infection – Even after infancy, breastfeeding, especially exclusively and for as long as possible, may offer protection against sinus, middle ear, and throat infections.
- Respiratory tract infection – Breastfeeding can protect a child from acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.
- Infections and colds – Babies who are breastfed exclusively may experience less severe colds and ear or throat infections.
- Gut infections – thought to be less common among breastfeeding mothers.
- Intestinal tissue damage – Breastfeeding preterm infants has been associated with a decrease in the occurrence of necrotizing enterocolitis.
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – When breastfeeding exclusively, there is a relationship between breastfeeding and fewer cases of SIDS.
- Autoimmune disorders – Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of developing eczema, atopic dermatitis, and asthma.
- Bowel ailments – Breastfed infants, may have a lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- Diabetes – The risk of acquiring type 1 diabetes and non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes is believed to be lower in breastfeeding women.
- Childhood leukemia – Many experts link breastfeeding to reducing the risk of childhood leukemia.
Healthy Weight Gain with Breast Milk
Breastfeeding helps prevent childhood obesity and encourages healthy weight gain. According to one study, breastfeeding for more than four months significantly reduces the likelihood that a kid will grow up overweight or obese. Diversifying gut microorganisms might bring this on since beneficial gut bacteria are more prevalent in breastfed babies.
Breastfed babies have higher levels of leptin in their bodies than newborns who are fed formula. This hormone is vital for controlling hunger and fat accumulation, and breastfed babies self-regulate how much milk they consume. They eat only until they are full, which aids in developing wholesome eating habits.
Breastfeeding Aids Brain Development
While this claim may seem controversial, breastfeeding may make your baby a smart adult. According to researchers, infants who are breastfed grow their brains differently from those who are fed formula. This distinction might result from the nutrient composition of breastmilk as well as the closeness, touch, and eye contact that are part of breastfeeding.
Moreover, it’s also proven that breastfed infants score more highly on IQ tests. Besides, they are less likely to experience behavioural issues or learning challenges as they age. As a result, there’s clear evidence that breastfeeding can benefit your baby’s long-term brain development.
How Long Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests keeping exclusive breastfeeding after the first six months, even if solid meals are introduced. Typically, the process should continue until the child is at least one year old or until both the mother and the child are ready to stop. Specialists suggest an even longer period – starting as early as one hour after birth and breastfeeding for two years or longer.
All in all, breastfeeding is the best way to give your baby a good start. There’s hardly an expert that will dissuade you from giving your infant all the perks of breast milk. The latter has all the ingredients to provide an all-in-one solution against malnutrition, illnesses, and chronic diseases. Of course, breastfeeding often comes with downsides like clogged milk duct, but the advantages for you and your baby are endless. Whatever your decision, your healthcare team can help you make the best choices and procedures.