9 incredible benefits of breastfeeding that every family should know
Did you know that there is an event dedicated to breastfeeding that is celebrated every year between August 1 and 7? The World Breastfeeding Week, as it’s called, is held to promote, support and encourage breastfeeding around the globe. This is because it takes quite a lot of support and encouragement to move breastfeeding beyond the initial months of delivery. Hence awareness about the almost-miraculous benefits that breastmilk offers is always encouraging for the mother to build a longer breastfeeding relationship with her baby. So here we discuss 9 incredible benefits of breastfeeding that will help you take decisions on the length of time you plan to breastfeed your child.
1. Right balance of nutrients
Your baby has a very small stomach, especially during the first few months of his or her life. Thus, they cannot eat much, but their nutritional needs are high. This is where breastfeeding plays an important role. Now, mother’s milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs, in the correct proportions. It offers a fine balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, essential for your baby’s growth and development.
2. Easy to digest
One of greatest advantages of breastfeeding is that breast milk is easy to digest. Its nature’s most perfect food for the infant. While it contains all the essential nutrients for your baby’s development, it also comes in an easily digestible form. Since your baby’s digestive system is still maturing, there is nothing like breastmilk for him. For example, the protein in cow’s milk is difficult to digest while the protein in mother’s milk can be easily absorbed.
3. Easy to absorb iron
Iron plays an important role in transporting oxygen through your child’s blood stream. While the quantity of iron in breast milk is low, it is in a form that can be easily absorbed by your baby. And hence, it is effective.
4. Increases tolerance to allergies
When you start introducing solid foods to your baby after 6 months, there is a risk of triggering allergic reactions. So, one of the benefits of breast milk is that it improves your baby’s tolerance towards proteins and reduces sensitivity. Thus, it builds tolerance and protects your baby from allergies.
5. Increases immunity
In the womb, a baby gets his immunity from his mother. After birth, most babies have very low immunity. This is where the benefits of breastfeeding for a baby become apparent. Breast milk is rich in natural antibodies that helps strengthen the immune system. It also reduces the risk of respiratory illnesses and diarrhoea.
6. Aids in digestion
Breast milk is easy to digest. In addition, it encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria and plays a big role in developing the digestive system.
7. Great for mother’s health
Breastfeeding not only benefits the baby, but contributes to the health of a mother too. For starters, it’s the biggest safeguard against breast cancer. The more time you feed your baby and the more babies you feed, the lesser becomes your risk of developing cancer. Breastfeeding is also said to reduce chances of ovarian cancer, which is very difficult to diagnose.
It’s also makes you lose that pregnancy weight. Feeding a baby burns almost 500 calories every day. Also, when breastmilk is produced, your brain releases oxytocin, which helps the swollen uterus shrink back to normal. How great is that?
8. Emotional bonding
Breastfeeding is a very intimate experience for a mother and her baby. The skin-to-skin contact during this time helps them build a strong emotional bond.
9. Custom made food for your infant
This is the most miraculous food that has been ever made. Its almost tailormade for your baby, according to the time of the day, and age of the baby. For example, breastmilk produced for a preterm baby is different from breastmilk produced for a baby which has completed term, and also different from a baby that is two months old. Infact, breastmilk combines the elements of an appetiser (the light foremilk) and an entrée (a heavier hindmilk). There is no food that comes in as customised as the breastmilk.
We can therefore conclude that breastfeeding has enormous benefits for both the mother and the baby. If you are a mother who can breastfeed and has chosen to breastfeed, these should help and support you make the right decision on how long you should breastfeed your child.