To every expectant mother, the thoughts of how to keep her child healthy – and breastfeeding is a subject of perpetual consideration. Though, some mothers like to make the decision of whether to breastfeed and for how long a personal matter, others draw strong opinions from friends and family.
Gynaecologists and other health practitioners strongly recommend that parents provide the newly born child with exclusive breastfeeding, which is, providing the child with only breast milk for the first six months without any other supplements.
Breast milk comes in a form more easily digested than any other infant formula, and it also has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat – everything a new born baby needs to grow.
However the case may be, when a mother understands the benefits of breastfeeding, she is guided into making the best decision for the child and for herself. Here are some benefits of breastfeeding…
Benefits of breastfeeding for the baby:
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help the baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
- Breastfeeding lowers the baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies.
- Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.
- Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood.
- Breastfeeding lowers the baby’s risk of sudden infant death (SID) syndrome by about half.
- It helps a mother feel close to the child and prevent postnatal depression (PND).
- It prepares the baby for different tastes, since the flavour of breast milk changes according to what a mother has eaten, so the baby may be less of a fussy eater when she’s weaning.
- Breastfeeding reducing a baby’s risk of developing chronic conditions, such as type I diabetes, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.
- Research shows that breastfed babies have a better antibody response to vaccines than formula-fed babies.
- It’s more likely that neither of both the mother and the child will become obese if you breastfeed him.
- The physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help the baby bond with the mother and feel secure.
- Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.
- Breastfeeding can decrease the baby’s risk of some childhood cancers.
Summarily, breast milk is the only ideal nutrition for infants.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding for The Mother
Interestingly, the benefits of breastfeeding is not limited to the suckling child alone, the mother also stands to gain a lot:
- Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help a mother lose pregnancy weight faster.
- Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps a mother uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.
- Breastfeeding also lowers a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- In some cases, breastfeeding lowers a mother’s risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
- A breastfeeding mother has a lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer, an often deadly disease that’s on the rise.
- Breastfeeding baby around the clock—no bottles or formula— will delay ovulation, which means delayed menstruation.
With all these, you should see the reason why it is important to breastfeed babies and to encourage other mothers to do same.
‘Seyifunmi Adebote for encomium.ng