Home » Importance of Exclusive Breastfeeding | Benefits for Mom & Baby

Importance of Exclusive Breastfeeding | Benefits for Mom & Baby

importance of exclusive breastfeeding

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importance of exclusive breastfeeding

Do you want to know what the importance of exclusive breastfeeding is? Are you thinking of breastfeeding your baby, but you have no idea whether this is something you want or not? 

Here are some of the topics covered in this article:

  • Is breastfeeding good for your baby?
  • What are the advantages and health benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and the baby? 
  • What is the importance of exclusive breastfeeding? 

I know from experience that breastfeeding is hard work, and if you don’t prepare yourself, you can easily give up. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

What is Exclusive Breastfeeding?

Exclusive breastfeeding denotes that your baby receives breastmilk only. It means without any liquids, such as water, juices, tea, and solids (up until six months of age).
Of course, some exceptions may apply here, such as 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
importance of exclusive breastfeeding

Now, let’s see what’s the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for you and your baby.

The importance of exclusive breastfeeding for baby

1. Breastmilk’s components

Breastmilk contains the ideal nutrition that your baby needs for healthy growth and development. Which is valid for your baby’s first six months of life; after that, it will slowly transition to solids. Through this transition (after six months), your baby will still need breastmilk, or you could transition or introduce formula. It’s up to you. But again, it is highly recommended to continue with breastmilk for at least a year.

Why it’s essential for at least a year? Because the weaning process and introducing solids need time and you must gradually introduce all the different foods into your baby’s diet. It will enable you to find out whether your baby develops allergies to certain foods. 

Interested in learning more about the benefits of breastfeeding after six months, check out this great article from Medela.com.

Another thing you should know about breastmilk is that it’s continually changing and adapting according to your baby’s needs. 

The only supplement you need for your baby is Vitamin D3 – the only vitamin your breastmilk may be lacking. Therefore to compensate, your pediatrician may recommend Vitamin D3 drops. 

2.Breastmilk contains antibodies

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest benefits that breastfeeding has (besides providing proper nutrition, of course). 

My baby wasn’t sick at all during the entire breastfeeding period, even though I was ill as well; my baby didn’t get it. 

How is this possible? Colostrum is full of vitamins, proteins, antibodies, minerals, immunoglobulin A (IgA), and countless others, that will protect and help your newborn build his immunity.

These antibodies help your baby fight infections such as stomach bugs, diarrhea, colds, and diseases of the chest and ears.

These proteins and minerals are 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.

Related: Best Breastfeeding Supplies for Nursing Moms

3.Health benefits

Breastfeeding has an impressive list of health benefits and may reduce disease risks(both long and short term). It applies especially to exclusively breastfed babies.

  • Middle ear infections
  • Less likely to become overweight – in adulthood
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Colds and infections – lower risk of getting severe 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 percent less likely to develop celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – less likely to develop childhood inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diabetes
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Lower the risk of allergies – If there is a family history of allergies, your baby may also develop any. Breastfeeding is the best way of lowering this risk because you’re already exposing your baby to a large variety of foods.

4.Smarter children

Some studies 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 behavior and learning problems.

I found an article on the 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. 

importance of exclusive breastfeeding

The importance of exclusive breastfeeding for mom

1.It’s FREE & AVAILABLE at all times

It’s the most important to know, especially if you are raising your child on a budget.

Formula can get very expensive over time, so if your body produces breastmilk, why not take advantage of it?

When it comes to availability, I have to say that’s the easiest and best method to feed your baby. If you miss your baby’s hunger cues and don’t feed him, things can get nasty.

I supplied 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 each preparation.

2.Postpartum Recovery

Not sure if you know this already, but you won’t get a flat tummy straight after you gave birth. You will still look pregnant because your womb needs time to get back to normal, and breastfeeding can speed up the entire process.

3.Health

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Osteoporosis (bones)
  • Diabetes 
  • Cardiovascular disease (conditions that are affecting the heart or blood vessels).

4.Helps you bond with your baby

Another important thing for you as a new mom is to be able to connect with your newborn. It’s essential for your baby as well, and breastfeeding is the perfect opportunity to feel and keep a developing 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 loses around 300 calories per day.

Another thing to consider is that we are not the same, and some women lose weight faster than others, but don’t despair!

Your appetite might go up because of all the hormonal changes that take place in your body after birth. That’s why you may think that you’re not losing weight. However, after three months of lactation, it may help you burn fat.

Please note that diet and exercise are still the most important in determining how much weight you lose, with or without breastfeeding.

6.Lower risk of postpartum depression

Breastfeeding moms are less likely to develop postpartum depression. It’s because of the high levels of oxytocin in your system. It also encourages caregiving, relaxation, and helps you bond with your baby.

7.Breastfeeding will pause ovulation and menstruation

It’s your natural birth control that your body “creates” to space out two pregnancies.

However, this is not entirely effective. Many moms think that you can’t get pregnant if you don’t have your monthly bleeding.

That’s how many women got pregnant without being aware. Please be careful if you’d like more time between the two pregnancies.

A final note

That’s it with the importance of exclusive breastfeeding. I am almost certain that there are a lot more benefits, but these are the things I read about when doing my research.

Comment down below if you have anything else to add to this list.

Until next time, take care and stay beautiful!
xx Kinga


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