Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Both Mother And Baby
Breastfeeding or nursing greatly affects both baby's and mother’s health. The following are some major benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby.
We all have heard from our grandmothers and mothers, breastfeeding is best, yet it’s not always as stress-free as it sounds, but the benefits of human milk make it far more worthy. Breastfeeding is when you feed your baby breast milk which is produced from your breast or someone else after the delivery of the baby.
Although breastfeeding is a completely personal decision of a mother, often family members and relatives all have a say in it which makes it more confusing for the new mother who may not have any idea about it. In times like those, you could always look up to international recommended guidelines plus your health status before making a final decision of whether you are going to breastfeed your child or not.
For a fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization recommend you breastfeed your child exclusively for 6 months and then continue breastfeeding for a year or two with an introduction to food.
Benefits of Breastfeeding For Babies
Breastfeeding is not only one of the best and natural forms of feeding, but also breastfed infants have a lot more benefits as compared to formula-fed babies. Let’s take a peek at its benefits.
Human breast milk has a naturally balanced composition of all the constituents that a baby needs to have for the first 6 months of life. Breast milk aids in digestion and keeping the baby's tummy healthy and safe. It is more readily digested than formula milk, making a baby's digestive system fit. The World Health Organization also emphasizes exclusive breastfeeding from 6 months to two years of their life. Continued breastfeeding helps resolve nutrition issues in children throughout the world.
Healthy weight gain in breastfed babies:
Only breast milk contains the right ratio of nutritional contents like lactose, vitamins, fats, minerals essential for a baby's optimal weight gain and can be easily digested. For internal requirement fulfillment and to ensure that babies don't lose weight more than the safe limit in the first week after birth breastfeeding is beneficial. It is often observed that babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months are comparatively closer to the healthy BMI weight range than formula-fed babies. They are often not obese as compared to many formula-fed babies. Plus, it is great for proper growth in premature babies whose systems are still developing. It prevents them from many childhood obesity-related diseases like diabetes. So for healthy weight gain, it is often recommended to the mothers to breastfeed the baby.
Protection from diseases like sudden infant death syndrome:
Human milk contains many antibodies which are a fundamental constituent of it so when a baby nurses it gets these antibodies too. Antibodies are the fighters of our body protecting and boosting our immune system. They fight any infectious disease or microorganism like bacteria or virus that invades the body and poses a threat to its health. So they act as a disease control force in breastfed babies and make it powerful enough to fight off common health threats like ear infections, allergic diseases like atopic dermatitis, respiratory tract infections, or tissue damage.
Breast milk also has some anti-inflammatory properties, and it prevents SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), the baby's risk of dying suddenly during sleep. Breastfeeding benefits greatly in fighting childhood leukemia too.
Better emotional development:
When babies are breastfeeding, skin-to-skin touching, prolonged eye contact, and closeness to the mother creates a strong emotional attachment and boosts the mother and baby bond. It is found that those babies feel more secure and loved. Also, they are stable emotionally with fewer anger issues than babies who are fed infant formula.
Smarter babies with breast milk:
Although not much research has been done in this area, a few studies show that babies who are breastfed also grow up to have higher IQ scores and brain development. Though we fail to understand the reason if we don’t know the facts behind it. The reason behind this is that the fatty acids in breast milk act as brain boosters contributing to your baby's cognitive brain development. This mental development has proven to be fruitful later in life. No additional IQ technology of vitamins in baby formula feed can replace that.
Benefits of Breastfeeding For The Mom
Not only is breastfeeding advantageous to the baby, it also has major health benefits to the mothers making it an even better and healthier option to rely on.
Quicker weight loss:
One of the biggest headaches for new mothers is pregnancy weight gain, which affects them in a lot of ways. What if I tell you that by breastfeeding you can burn calories too? Yup, you got it right! So it's two in one package for fat burning and the baby's nutrition. During milk production and breastfeeding in a day, around 500-700 calories are burned; which helps them to lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI, protecting the mother against obesity-related disorders like high blood pressure.
According to doctors, it takes around 6 weeks after delivery for your uterus contract to come back to its normal size. Many factors contribute to breastfeeding. When a baby sucks the milk, it releases a hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone helps in uterine contraction and also helps in reducing uterine bleeding after birth. So this also shows that breastfeeding is very important and healthy for mothers.
Cures postpartum depression:
Postpartum depression(PPD) is very common among new mothers. The onset of labor, its complications, confusion regarding the nursing of the baby, and sleeplessness, may cause the mother to develop postpartum depression. One of the major contributing factors is the sudden jump and change in hormones. Breastfeeding prevents it by slowing the reduction of hormones and exclusively breastfeeding mothers are at a lower risk to get PPD. Also, the emotional attachment to the baby due to physical closeness during breastfeeding makes the mother come out of depression which is rare in formula feeding.
Prevention from breast and ovarian cancer:
Studies have also shown that mothers who breastfed their babies have a lower rate of ovarian and breast cancer later in life than mothers who don't. It shows that breastfeeding benefits in the prevention of ovarian and breast cancers in women, adding up healthier years in your life.
Breast milk in different cultures is often called the ‘first milk' in human life. We have discussed a lot of benefits of exclusive breastfeeding mothers and breastfed infants and how it does have a positive impact on both of their lives. We can't ignore the fact that breastfeeding is also tiring, difficult, time-consuming, and often worrisome for new mothers, and the decision to whether you should breastfeed exclusively or not should be solely a mother's decision and their personal matter. The most important thing is the health of the baby and the mother. So for mothers always remember 'when the baby is yours, the choice to breastfeed is also yours'.