Five Reasons Why Breastfeeding Is Best For Baby
Scientific research has shown us the critical importance of breastfeeding. It is irreplaceable as the way to feed children. Its intricate composition to both protect and nourish; its capacity to perfectly match growth and development needs make it an irreplaceable way to feed babies.
Here are five reasons breastfeeding is essential for your baby –
For child survival
Breastfeeding is an essential means of providing food security for millions of infants worldwide. “If all babies were fed only breastmilk for the first six months of life, the lives of an estimated 1.5 million infants would be saved every year and the health and development of millions of others would be greatly improved,” states UNICEF in its 2002 edition of Facts for Life.
Breastmilk protects the baby against diseases
Before a baby is born, the uterus protects him or her against most of the germs to which the mother is exposed. After birth, the mother’s breastmilk continues to protect against many of the viruses, bacteria and parasites to which the baby is now exposed.
Breast milk contains valuable antibodies that help prevent disease and may reduce the risk of your baby developing allergies. After birth, the mother’s first milk, Colostrum, offers vital early protection and helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria by coating your baby’s digestive system.
Breast milk contains everything the baby needs for the first six months of life, in all the right proportions. Its composition even changes according to the baby’s changing needs, especially during the first month of life. During the first days after birth, the breasts produce the first milk (colostrum), a thick and yellowish fluid. It’s high in protein, low in sugar and loaded with beneficial compounds.
These compounds not only prevent diseases; some stimulate and strengthen the development of the baby’s immature immune system. This results in better health, even years after breastfeeding has ended
Promotes a healthy weight
Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity. 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.
The duration is also important, as each month of breastfeeding reduces your child’s risk of future obesity by 4%.
Promotes better mental development
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 also indicate that breastfed babies have higher intelligence scores and are less likely to develop problems with behaviour and learning as they grow older.
The Bottom Line
If you are unable to breastfeed, then feeding your baby with formula is completely fine. It will provide your baby with all the nutrients he or she needs.
However, breast milk also contains antibodies and other elements that protect your baby from illness and chronic disease. Additionally, mothers who breastfeed experience their own benefits, such as convenience and reduced stress
As an added bonus, breastfeeding gives you a valid reason to sit down, put your feet up and relax while you bond with your precious newborn.
Malvika Bansal is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv