Benefits of Breastfeeding for Babies and Mother

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Babies and Mother

The natural power of breastfeeding is one of the greatest wonders of the world. It is about real love. It is about caring for and celebrating the wondrous joy of nurturing a new life. It is about enjoying being a woman.” As pertinently quoted by Anwar Fazal breastfeeding is one the most potent natural phenomenon. The gratification and empowerment felt while the mother holds her baby and feeds him is one of those rare moments of blissful joy.

Although, Maternal Fulfilment is considered as the greatest reward for a feeding mother it also has other significant medical benefits.

Medical benefits of breastfeeding to the mother

Medical benefits of breastfeeding

 

The joy and peace settling down on a mother is not only an emotional reaction but also has medical reasons. Breastfeeding releases good hormones like Prolactin and Oxytocin bringing in the sensations of love, peace, and fulfillment while she holds and feeds her child.

Good hormone release

Medically, it is proven that breastfeeding mothers recuperate from childbirth sooner and more efficiently. Oxytocin helps in regularising the size of the uterus back to its normalcy, and this can in return also reduce post-delivery bleedings.

Long term benefits

Medical researchers have also revealed that women who breastfeed are at a lesser risk of developing breast cancers or ovarian cancer later in life. Some other studies have concluded that breastfeeding can effectively fight the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can also cause the mother to shed those extra pregnancy pounds and return to pre-pregnancy weight naturally.

Acts as a natural contraception

Exclusive breastfeeding can also act as natural contraception as it can delay fertility through lactation amenorrhea.

Practical benefits

Easy to store and use

Apart from these, it also has some practical benefits like breast milk is always fresh, perfectly clean, just the right temperature, and is the healthy choice at the least cost.

It is a hassle-free way of nourishing the baby and requires no preparation, sterilization while your baby shrieks for attention and food.

Benefits of breastfeeding to the baby

Benefits of breastfeeding to the baby

Prevention from Allergies & diseases

Breast milk also mitigates risks of artificial feeding like lactose intolerance, allergies for the baby. It is easy to digest and contains natural antibodies that help the infant to fight allergies and asthma. Proteins in cow’s milk and soy milk formulas can cause an allergic reaction, while the proteins in human breast milk are more easily digested.

As breast milk is easy to break down, it leads to fewer stomach upsets, diarrhea, and constipation.

It is also instrumental in reducing the risk of being affected by viruses, urinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroenteritis, gut infections, celiac disease, colds, ear infections, and respiratory infections.   Researchers have witnessed that artificial milk fed infants are more likely to be afflicted by ear infections, pneumonia, etc. Breast milk also decreases the risk of SIDS and makes vaccination more useful for the baby. Extensive studies proclaimed that breastfed babies have a better antibody response to vaccines than formula-fed babies.

It also shields your baby naturally from diseases like type 1 diabetes, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Australia’s leading health organization, the National Health, and the Medical Research Council indicate that not breastfeeding and putting the bab to formula milk increases the risk of SIDS by 56%. Keeping this theory in place, in Australia, the risk of SIDS is currently around 1 in 3000 births. Therefore, if all babies were formula fed, the 56% increase in SIDS would then mean that the risk of SIDS would increase to around 3 in 6000 births.

Natural Brain boosters for the baby

Natural Brain boosters for the baby

Breast milk contains a high amount of fatty acids which are considered to be brain boosters; hence, it will not be inaccurate to claim that breast milk fed babies might eventually smarter than the formula milk fed babies. Although, the research is still not conclusive enough but it is definitely pointing towards that. Studies have also revealed that breastfed babies have a lower tendency to be obese. They have more leptin in their bodies and leptin is the primary hormone for fat storage and digestion. The baby thrives on breast milk.

Sleep Inducing effects of breast milk

Sleep Inducing effects of breast milk

Breast milk also helps the child to sleep. Breastmilk contains tryptophan, an amino acid used by the body to make melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to induce and regulate sleep. Breastfeeding promotes the development of babies’ circadian rhythms thus, putting them to sleep eventually.

Breastfeeding and how to wean

process of weaning

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that exclusive breastfeeding should be continued for the first six months and then for the next year or as long as the mother and the child want to go on with the practice. The World Health Organization also lays out that all babies should be exclusively breastfed for six months, then they should be gradually introduced to mild food items considered appropriate for an infant after six months. However, alongside, it is best to continue with breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond. This dual-feeding is when the process of weaning ideally steps in.

The weaning process should begin when the first time your baby is introduced to food from a source other than your breast – it can be the formula from a bottle or mashed banana from a spoon. Weaning is the gradual process of replacing breast milk with other food items. It is not achieved overnight, takes time and should be done slowly.

Before weaning, enjoy the joy of breastfeeding and maternal bonding.

There is nothing better than the skin to skin feel in breastfeeding. And Sarah Buckley, a renowned doctor aptly states “Breastfeeding reminds us of the universal truth of abundance; the more we give out, the more we are filled up, and that divine nourishment – the source from which we all draw is, like a mother’s breast, ever full and ever flowing.

 

So, relish and take charge of motherhood!

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