August 01, 2019
11 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mom and Baby
1. Breast Milk Provides Ideal Nutrition for Babies Most health authorities recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months.
Continued breastfeeding is then recommended for at least one year, as different foods are introduced into the baby's diet.
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 a thick and yellowish fluid called colostrum. It's high in protein, low in sugar and loaded with beneficial compounds.
Colostrum is the ideal first milk and helps the newborn's immature digestive tract develop. After the first few days, the breasts start producing larger amounts of milk as the baby's stomach grows.
About the only thing that may be lacking from breast milk is vitamin D. Unless the mother has a very high intake, her breast milk will not provide enough.
To compensate for this deficiency, vitamin D drops are usually recommended from the age of 2–4 weeks.
Breast milk contains everything your baby needs for the first six months of life, with the possible exception of vitamin D. The first milk is thick, rich in protein and loaded with beneficial compounds.
2. Breast Milk Contains Important Antibodies Breast milk is loaded with antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
This particularly applies to colostrum, the first milk.
Colostrum provides high amounts of immunoglobulin A (IgA), as well as several other antibodies.
When the mother is exposed to viruses or bacteria, she starts producing antibodies.
These antibodies are then secreted into the breast milk and passed to the baby during feeding.
A protects the baby from getting sick by forming a protective layer in the baby's nose, throat and digestive system.
For this reason, breastfeeding mothers with the flu may actually provide their babies with antibodies that help them fight the pathogen that is causing the sickness.
Nonetheless, if you are ill, you should always practice strict hygiene. Wash your hands often and try to avoid infecting your baby.
Formula doesn't provide antibody protection for babies. Numerous studies show that babies who are not breastfed are more vulnerable to health issues like pneumonia, diarrhea and infection.
Breast milk is loaded with antibodies, especially immunoglobin A, which can help prevent or fight illness in your baby.
3. Breastfeeding May Reduce Disease Risk Breastfeeding has an impressive list of health benefits.
This is particularly true of exclusiveTrusted Source breastfeeding, meaning that the infant receives only breast milk.
It may reduce your baby's risk of many illnesses and diseases, including:
- Middle ear infections: 3 or more months of exclusive breastfeeding may reduce the risk by 50%, while any breastfeeding may reduce it by 23%.
- Respiratory tract infections: Exclusive breastfeeding for more than 4 months reduces the risk of hospitalization for these infections by up to 72%.
- Colds and infections: Babies exclusively breastfed for 6 months may have up to a 63% lower risk of getting serious colds and ear or throat infections.
- Gut infections: Breastfeeding is linked with a 64% reduction in gut infections, seen for up to 2 months after breastfeeding stops.
- Intestinal tissue damage: Feeding preterm babies breast milk is linked with around a 60% reduction in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis.
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): Breastfeeding is linked to a 50% reduced risk after 1 month, and a 36% reduced risk in the first year.
- Allergic diseases: Exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3–4 months is linked with a 27–42% reduced risk of asthma, atopic dermatitis and eczema.
- Celiac disease: Babies who are breastfed at the time of first gluten exposure have a 52% lower risk of developing celiac disease.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: Babies who are breastfed may be roughly 30% less likely to develop childhood inflammatory bowel disease.
- Diabetes: Breastfeeding for at least 3 months is linked to a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes (up to 30%) and type 2 diabetes (up to 40%).
- Childhood leukemia: Breastfeeding for 6 months or longer is linked with a 15–20% reduction in the risk of childhood leukemia.
In addition to reducing the risk of many infections, breastfeeding has also been shown to significantly reduce their severity.
Furthermore, the protective effects of breastfeeding seem to last throughout childhood and even adulthood.
Breastfeeding may reduce your baby's risk of infections and many diseases, including allergy, celiac disease and diabetes.
4. Breast Milk Promotes a Healthy Weight
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 have lower obesity rates than formula-fed babies. They also have more leptin and more beneficial gut bacteria.
5. Breastfeeding May Make Children Smarter
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.
Breastfeeding may affect your baby's brain development and reduce the risk of future behavior and learning problems.
Read The Rest At The Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-breastfeeding