BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING YOUR BABY
A WHO report states that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood. On a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond. However from this reort we have outlined 7 great benefits of breastfeeding your baby.
To enable mothers to establish and sustain exclusive breastfeeding for six months, WHO and UNICEF recommend:
- Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life;
- Exclusive breastfeeding – that is, the infant only receives breast milk without any additional food or drink, not even water;
- Breastfeeding on demand – that is, as often as the child wants, day and night;
- No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers.
Here are 7 great benefits to breast feed your baby:
Nutrients and Protection
Breast milk is the best food to help your baby to grow and develop. It is custom-made by each mother for her own baby, and contains the perfect amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals. Remarkably, as your baby grows, your milk will also change to keep up with your baby’s needs. Human milk is also easier than formula for your baby to digest, which means less mess and fuss! Breast milk contains valuable antibodies that help prevent disease and may reduce the risk of your baby developing allergies. After birth, your first milk, called Colostrum, offers vital early protection and helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria by coating your baby’s digestive system. This early protection is even more important if your baby is born prematurely – Colostrum protects!
Breast Milk Promotes a Healthy Weight
Breastfed babies have lower obesity rates than formula-fed babies. They also have more leptin and more beneficial gut bacteria. Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity. Studies show that obesity rates are 15–30% lower in breastfed babies. Compared to formula-fed babies. The duration is also important, as each month of breastfeeding reduces your child’s risk of future obesity by 4% . This may be due to the development of different gut bacteria. Breastfed babies have higher amounts of beneficial gut bacteria, which may affect fat storage . Babies fed on breast milk also have more leptin in their systems than formula-fed babies. Leptin is a key hormone for regulating appetite and fat storage. Breastfed babies also self-regulate their milk intake. They’re better at eating only until they’ve satisfied their hunger, which helps them develop healthy eating patterns.
Breastfeeding can protect your baby from developing allergies
Babies who are fed a formula based on cow’s milk or soy tend to have more allergic reactions than breastfed babies. Scientists think that immune factors such as secretory IgA (only available in breast milk) help prevent allergic reactions to food by providing a layer of protection to a baby’s intestinal tract. Without this protection, inflammation can develop and the wall of the intestine can become “leaky.” This allows undigested proteins to cross the gut where they can cause an allergic reaction and other health problems. Babies who are fed formula rather than breast milk don’t get this layer of protection, so they’re more vulnerable to inflammation, allergies, and other eventual health issues.
Breastfeeding may lower your baby’s risk of SIDS
A large German study published in 2009 found that breastfeeding – either exclusively or partially – is associated with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The researchers concluded that exclusive breastfeeding at 1 month of age cut the risk of SIDS in half. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends breastfeeding for as long as possible to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Convenient and Portable
Breast milk is always safe, fresh and exactly the right temperature. It’s ready for baby at a moment’s notice, and you don’t have to heat it, boil water, or sterilize bottles. This makes night time feedings a lot easier. Since breast milk is always with you, travelling and shopping with your baby is simpler, with no equipment to carry or refrigeration needed.
Breastfeeding May Make Children Smarter
Breastfeeding may affect your baby’s brain development and reduce the risk of future behavior and learning problems. Some studies suggest there may be a difference in brain development between breastfed and formula-fed babies .This difference may be due to the physical intimacy, touch and eye contact associated with breastfeeding. Studies indicate that breastfed babies have higher intelligence scores and are less likely to develop problems with behavior and learning as they grow older. However, the most pronounced effects are seen in preterm babies, who have a higher risk of developmental issues. The research clearly shows that breastfeeding has significant positive effects on their long-term brain development.
Less risk of cancer
Breastfeeding can decrease your baby’s risk of some childhood cancers. And you’ll have a lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer, an often deadly disease that’s on the rise.