The Benefits Of Breastfeeding: Why Breast Milk Is The Best For Your Baby

Mother Reaping the Benefits of Breastfeeding

We all have heard about the benefits of breastfeeding, and new studies keep confirming how beneficial breast milk is to your baby. Research has shown that breast milk is a complete, unique form of nutrition that has more health benefits to infants than any other nutritional source. It is also now considered a better source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients than any other food.

The mother’s milk has several benefits for the growth and the development of the baby, as well as the child’s immunity and general health. Babies need the best possible nutrition to grow, and there is nothing better than the milk from the mother. Infant formulas are sometimes advertised as complete food sources, but they are always inferior. A formula can contain some of the same nutrients as mother’s milk, but even the best formulas cannot completely imitate all the nutrients and the unique combination of the different nutrients in breast milk.

Some of the biggest benefits of breastfeeding include the following:

Benefit 1 Your milk is a complete and unique form of nutrition for your baby, and it cannot be replaced by anything else – not even the best formula.

Benefit 2 Breastfeeding boosts the baby’s immune system. A baby needs high quality nutrition to build up his or her immunity against many childhood illnesses, and babies and children who have been nursed generally have a more effective immune system than babies fed with infant formula.

Benefit 3 Studies have shown that children who have been nursed have a smaller risk of certain diseases later in childhood. Babies who are breastfed and do not receive any formula for the first three months have a lower risk of developing insulin-dependent juvenile diabetes.

The risk of a child developing cancer before the age of 15 is smaller in children who have been breastfed than in those who have been given infant formula. It is not known how the mother’s milk is able to reduce the risk of cancer, but the antibodies that are present in the milk are probably partly responsible.

Benefit 4 Breastfed children also have a lower risk of suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease as adults.

Benefit 5 Some studies have linked exclusive breastfeeding to a lower risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It is recommended that a woman should breastfeed as long as possible to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Benefit 6 Babies who have been breastfed are less likely to develop IBS (inflammatory bowel disease) and high cholesterol as adults.

Benefit 7 Breastfed babies are less likely to get dental cavities later in life.

Benefit 8 Breastfeeding can prevent obesity in children and in teenagers.

Benefit 9 It deepens the connection between the mother and her baby, and it has several health benefits for the mother, too.

Infographic of the Breastfed Baby

Breastfeeding Prevents Childhood Obesity

Studies have shown that children who are breastfed are less likely to become obese in their teenage years or as adults. Babies who were exclusively breastfed have the lowest risk of becoming obese later in life. There is also a link between obesity and the time the baby was breastfed: those who were nursed longer as a baby are also less likely to become obese.

There are many possible reasons for the connection between obesity and lack of breastfeeding. Infant formula has a higher content of insulin than your milk, and insulin stimulates fat creation. Babies who have been breastfed also produce more leptin, a hormone that is partly responsible for controlling appetite. Breastfeeding also creates a healthier eating pattern because the baby will only eat until his or her hunger has been satisfied.

Psychological Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is closely linked to the cognitive development of your child. In one study, children who were breastfed exclusively as babies (they were not given any formula or any other food) showed an improved cognitive development compared to those who were not exclusively breastfed.

In another study, children who had been nursed as infants had a better vocabulary at the age of 5 than those who had not been breastfed. The longer the nursing period had been, the better the vocabulary scores were in the test.

Children who were nursed as infants are less likely to develop learning problems and behavioral problems later in life. One study linked breastfeeding to increased maturity and self-confidence in children.

Possible reasons for the improved cognitive development in breastfed children include the fact that the mother’s own milk contains essential fatty acids that are important for the child’s development. It is also possible that the improved cognitive development is linked to the deep bond that develops between the mother and the child when the mother breastfeeds.

Breastfeeding has many psychological benefits for the mother and the baby. The act of breastfeeding deepens the connection between the two and brings a new dimension to the relationship.

Many women feel an increased sense of closeness to the baby when they breastfeed. The knowledge that your own milk is a complete source of nutrition for your baby can increase the bond between you and your child. The act of breastfeeding brings the baby and the mother closer together physically and emotionally, and this connection can continue throughout their lives.

Breastfeeding Benefits the Mother

Breastfeeding has several advantages to the mother, too. One of the hormones released when a mother breastfeeds is oxytocin. This hormone helps the uterus to regain its pre-labor size faster.

Mothers burn calories while lactating, and women who breastfeed lose the weight they gained during pregnancy faster than those who do not breastfeed. They also have a lower risk of developing many illnesses, such as ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and breast cancer.

The risk of developing osteoporosis is also lower in women who breastfeed. If a woman has diabetes, the amount of insulin she needs after giving birth can decrease if she keeps breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of postpartum depression. Women often feel an increased sense of relaxation when they breastfeed. The hormone oxytocin that is released during nursing is also responsible for the feelings of relaxation and nurturing.

A Boost to Your Baby’s Immunity

Breast milk contains all the nutrients the infant requires in the first six months of his or her life. It is also full of substances that boost the baby’s immune system and help the baby fight many common infections.

Babies are susceptible to ear infections, stomach viruses, infections in the lower respiratory tract and even meningitis. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of these common health problems or reduces their severity.

Why does your milk boost your baby’s immunity? When a woman’s body produces the first milk for her baby, this milk (called colostrum) contains higher levels of secretory immunoglobulin A than the milk that is produced later. This substance (IgA) forms a layer of protection on the mucus membranes in the throat, the nose and the intestines of your baby, and this layer protects the baby against bacteria and viruses.

The woman’s body produces this unique form of secretory IgA as a response to the bacteria and viruses in her body. This means that the secretory IgA is specifically made in the mother’s body to protect her baby.

Babies who are breastfed are also less likely to develop allergies than babies who are fed other alternatives such as cow’s milk or soy milk. It is thought that the secretory IgA that protects the baby’s intestines is also responsible for preventing allergies.

Other Things to Consider about Breastfeeding

The benefits of breastfeeding include economic benefits, too. Not having to buy infant formula can save a lot of money.

Since breastfeeding is associated with a smaller risk of juvenile diabetes and other childhood and teenage health problems, it can even lower your child’s future medical bills. It also improves the baby’s immune system and makes the baby less susceptible to diseases that can be expensive to treat.

Breastfeeding is always beneficial, but the biggest health benefits for the baby are linked to breastfeeding at least for six months. Medical experts recommend that to provide the highest health benefits for your child the infant should only receive breast milk for the first six months.

Breastfeeding is not always easy, and it is important to ask for help and advice if there are problems or if the baby does not learn to feed. New studies are continuously conducted about the benefits of breastfeeding, and we may know even more about the health benefits of mother’s milk in the future.

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