Is breastfeeding good for the baby?
What are the advantages of breastfeeding for mother and for the baby?
What are the health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby?
I know from experience that breastfeeding is hard work and if you don’t prepare yourself you can easily give up on it. But don’t worry mommy! I’ve got your back.
What is Exclusive B
Exclusive breastfeeding denotes that your baby receives breastmilk only. This means without any liquids, such as water, juices, tea and solids (up until 6 months of age).
Of course that some exceptions may apply here. These include: vitamins, medicines, syrups, etc.
According to WHO (World Health Organization)
“Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.”World Health Organization
Now, let’s see what are the exclusive breastfeeding benefits for both you and your child.
Breastmilk Benefits for Baby
1.Breastmilk contains the ideal nutrition that your baby needs for healthy growing & development
This is valid for your baby’s first 6 months of his life, then he will be slowly transitioned to solids. During this time your baby will still be fed breastmilk or you could transition and/or introduce formula. But again, it is highly recommended to continue with breastmilk for at least a year.
Why is essential for at least a year? Because you need another 6 months to gradually introduce all the different foods into your baby’s diet. This is a long process because you need to offer new foods and then observe your baby. You want to find out whether he develops certain allergies.
Interested in learnin more about the benefits of breastfeeding after 6 months, check out this great article from Medela.com
Many people say that your baby should be able to eat mostly everything (some exceptions apply of course).
Another thing you should know about breastmilk is that it constantly changes and adapts according to your baby’s need (we touched on this in the previous lesson).
The only supplement you need for your baby is Vitamin D. This is the only vitamin your breastmilk may be lacking. Therefore in order to compensate, your paediatrician will recommend Vitamin D drops, from 2-4 weeks onwards.
2.Breastmilk contains antibodies
In my opinion, this is one of the biggest benefits that breastfeeding has (besides providing proper nutrition, of course). I know this from experience.
My baby wasn’t sick at all during the entire period he’d been breastfed. During this time I was sick as well and he still didn’t get sick.
Like I mentioned in the previous lesson, colostrum is full of vitamins, proteins, antibodies, minerals, immunoglobulin A (IgA) and much other good stuff that will protect and help your newborn build his own immunity.
These antibodies help your baby fight infections such as stomach bugs, diarrhoea, colds and infections of the chest and ears.
All this good stuff is being secreted into the breastmilk and then to your baby’s body through feeding. That’s how his little body will fight against bacteria and viruses.
Breastfeeding has an impressive list of health benefits and may reduce disease risk (both long and short term). This applies especially exclusively breastfed babies.
- Middle ear infections
- Less likely to become overweight – in adulthood
- Respiratory tract infections
- Colds and infections – lower risk of getting serious colds and ear or throat infections
- Reduces the risk of hospitalization – for possible infections
- Gut infections
- Intestinal tissue damage – reduction in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Allergic diseases – reduced risk of asthma, atopic dermatitis and eczema
- Celiac disease – babies breastfed at first gluten exposure are 52 per cent less likely to develop celiac disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease – less likely to develop childhood inflammatory bowel disease
- Childhood leukaemia
- Lower the risk of allergies – If there is a family history of allergies, your baby may also develop some. Breastfeeding is the best way of lowering the risk of developing allergies because he’s being exposed to a large variety of foods.
There are studies that suggest that between breastfed and formula fed babies could be brain development differences.
So, breastfeeding may affect your baby’s brain development and reduce the risk of future behaviour and learning problems.
I found an article on NHS UK website that “breastfed babies are more intelligent.” Not sure whether this true or not, but it’s another cool thing to consider. If you’d like to know more about this, click here for the NHS UK article.
Breastmilk Benefits for M
1.It’s FREE & AVAILABLE at all times
The most important to know especially if you are raising your child on a budget.
Formula (a good one) can get very expensive over time, so if your body produces breastmilk, why not take advantage of that?
When it comes to availability, I have to say that’s the easiest and best way to feed your baby. If you miss your baby’s fungry cues and don’t feed him, things can get nasty.
I was supplying with formula milk for about a week (I thought I was having supply issues, but he was going through a growth spurt that I wasn’t aware of) and got the sense of bottle feeding with formula milk. It was hard, especially during the night.
It’s super easy when you go out. You don’t have to worry about packing formula, bottles, hot water and other things required for the preparation.
Not sure if you are aware of this, but you won’t get a flat tummy straight after you gave birth. You will still look pregnant, because your womb will get back to its normal size over time. Breastfeeding will speed up the entire process.
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Osteoporosis (bones)
- Cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels).
4.Helps you bond with your baby
Another important thing for you as a new mommy is to be able to bond with your newborn. This is important for him/her as well.
Breastfeeding is the perfect opportunity to feel and keep a newborn baby closer to you, bond and strengthen your relationship.
5.Keeps you in shape
I learned this the hard way! haha…
After I stopped breastfeeding I gained 2-3kg. I wasn’t expecting that!
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, your body looses around 300 calories per day.
Another thing to consider is that we are not the same, some women loose weight faster than others, but don’t despair!
Because of all the hormonal changes that take place in your body after birth, your apetite might go up.
This is essential if you are breastfeeding!
That’s why you may think that you’re not loosing weight. However after 3 months of lactation, it may actually help you burn fat.
Please note, that diet and exercise are still the most important in determining how much weight you loose, with or without breastfeeding.
6.Lower risk of postpartum depression
Breastfeeding mammas are less likely to develop postpartum depression. This is because of the high levels of oxytocin in your system.
This encourages caregiving, relaxation and helps you bond with your baby.
7.Breastfeeding will pause ovulation and menstruation
This has been considered a natural birth control that your body “creates” in order to space out 2 pregnancies.
However, this is not completely effective. Many mommies think that you can’t get pregnant if you don’t have your monthly bleeding.
Sadly, many women learned that the hard way and got pregnant without being aware.
So you should definitely be careful if you’d like more time between 2 pregnancies.
Benefits of Breastfeeding Month by Month
Like I mentioned earlier in this article, the longer you breastfeed your baby the better. You are definitely going to see the breastfeeding benefits over time.
A final note
These are all the advantages of breastfeeding. I am almost certain that there are a lot more, but these are the most important exclusive breastfeeding benefits.
Comment down below if you have anything else to add to this list, can’t wait to read them.
Until next time, take care & stay beautiful!
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