There is a popular saying between lactation specialists and pediatricians, that breast is best. However why is it really said so? With the advent of commercially available formula milk powders for infants and toddlers, are there are any real benefits of breastfeeding your child? This topic has been extensively researched, and listing down top 5 benefits of breastfeeding your baby which will blow your mind off.
Breastmilk Is Complete
Your body miraculously transforms after giving birth to a child, and automatically starts producing milk to provide nutrition for the newborn. This is probably the best gift of mother nature that you can give to your child. Breastmilk has been created by your body only and specially for your child, and has absolutely no substitute. It is said that this milk contains thousands of ingredients which cannot be duplicated in formula milk. Further, breastmilk is not just another milk, this is an actually living fluid. It contains the defense cells that pass from the mother’s blood into the mammary glands and hence the milk, and thus provide passive immunity to the newborn who has an immature immune system. If your child is premature, the breastmilk automatically adjusts itself to be higher in fat content, so as to provide the extra calories that your child needs. The milk that is immediately seen after birth is thick and is called as colostrum, and is very rich in immune boosters, and it is said that even few drops are sufficient for the newborn. Breastmilk is the perfect food – having the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in just the right quantities, along with special fatty acids like DHA which help to promote the brain development. It is infact so complete that for the first 6 months of life, you do not even need to supplement with water, even in hot climates. No other artificially made diet can be as amazing as this natural food.
Breastfeeding Promotes The Bond Between Mother And Child
The bond between a mother and child is like no other, and there is nothing more gratifying to the mother than feeding her child with her own milk. This also helps the child to recognize the mother after just born, and is the basis of attachment parenting.
Breastmilk Is Easier To Digest Than Formula
Breastmilk because of being a perfect mix, is light on the newborn’s delicate digestive system. The initial milk from the breast is lighter and is called as the foremilk. This is higher in water content, and helps to quench the thirst of the child, and id followed by the hind milk which is thicker and more fatty in nature, which helps to satisfy the hunger. Formula instead is constant. Also, breastmilk is often completely digested by the newborn, due to which they may not pass motion even for days, however, formula fed infants will always have some wastage because of parts of formula which are not suitable for the newborn and are not digested.
Breastfeeding Reduces Colic
breastfeeding is possible only if there is a complete vacuum condition and lip seal developed between the infant’s mouth and other mother’s nipple. This is not true in the case of bottle feeding, where there may be entrapped gas bubbles within the bottle, or they may also enter the baby’s mouth while suckling, leading to serious colic issues.
Breastfeeding Helps Infants Sleep Better
Breastmilk is found to naturally rich in endorphins, which are the body’s hormones that promote tranquil and calm. It is because of this that infants who are breastfed tend to sleep longer and better, and the popular belief that supplementing with formula can help babies sleep longer couldn’t be more untrue.
Breastfed Infants Have Lesser Chances Of Becoming Obese
Breastfed infants can control the amount of milk they drink at any given time. The moment they stop suckling the flow of milk stops. This control cannot be achieved in bottle fed infants, due to which they tend to gulp in more amounts of milk than necessary. Though this may seem comforting to the parents in the beginning, it can have serious implications such as teaching the child to overeat, and childhood and adult obesity.
Breastfed Babies Are Found To Have A Higher IQ
Breastmilk is naturally higher in fatty acids like DHA as mentioned earlier, which are absolutely essential to the brain development. Breastfed infants have been widely documented to be have a higher iq than their counterparts who were formula fed.
Breastmilk Is Readily Available
Formula needs to be prepared. Bottles need to be sterilized and we need to have an accurate mix of the powder with sterile water. Breastmilk on the other hand requires no such preparation. It is ready and available at the demand of the baby. It is naturally sterile, and is the safest form of food to the baby especially when the parents are travelling.
Breastmilk Is Non-allergic
Breastmilk is non-allergic in nature. Many babies on the other hand may not find every brand of formula suitable, and may have special requirements.
Breastfeeding Helps To Increase Savings
Formula can be very expensive in the long run, and breastmilk can help reduce the financial burden when expenses are already high due to a newborn baby. Not only that, as breastfed newborns are healthier, the trips to the doctor’s clinic are also reduced, thus reducing expenses.
Breastfeeding Is Linked To Reduced Incidence Of Breast Cancer In Women
Numerous studies done over the years have demonstrated that women who breastfeed have lower chances of developing breast cancer than those who do not. This is especially true in those who breastfeed for longer durations of time. The reasons for this are not fully understood, however many theories have been put forth, such as, women tend to have healthier lifestyles while breastfeeding, they have reduced hormone levels such as estrogen which can cause cancer, and also since the mammary cells are busy preparing milk, the chances for them to behave erratic are lesser.
Breastfeeding Helps In Natural Contraception
Breastfeeding is maintained by certain hormones, that help in natural contraception but suppressing ovulation.
Breastmilk Is A Natural Probiotic Like No Other
With the medical world moving more towards probiotics, the importance of breastmilk as a natural probiotic cannot be undermined. Antibiotics are chemicals which will kill the bacteria, however they often have strong side effects. Probiotics are natural and they help by allowing the growth of good micro-organisms, thus automatically controlling the bad ones. Many formula manufacturers are now trying to replicate this unique property of breastmilk by adding probiotics to their mixture, however these formulae tend to very expensive.
Breastfeeding Helps Mother To Lose The Maternity Excess Weight Faster
Breastmilk is high in calories, and helps the mother to burn her pregnancy weight faster.
Breastfeeding Mothers Have A Lower Incidence Of Post Pregnancy Depression
Because of the strengthened bonding with the child and reduced workload due to convenience, breastfeeding mother have a lower incidence of post-partum depression. Breastfeeding also releases the endorphins in the mother’s body, which is why many women feel a strong sense of peace and calm while they breastfeed their child.