If you’ve been thinking about not breastfeeding your baby, then you probably have plenty of information to sift through.
Before you make a decision, check out all the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that exclusive breastfeeding is the best way to provide optimal nutrition for babies. This means that you should start breastfeeding your baby for at least six months before transitioning to solid food.
The World Health Organization and other health organizations recommend that new moms breastfeed their babies until they are two years old.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Babies
- Breast milk contains essential nutrition for babies
Most healthcare professionals also recommend breastfeeding for at least six months. It provides the nutrients needed for a baby’s first six months.
During the first few days after birth, your body produces a thick and yellowish fluid called Colostrum. It’s high in protein, low on sugar, and loaded with beneficial nutrients.
Colostrum is the ideal first milk for a newborn because it helps the baby’s digestive tract develop.
Although your milk supply is magical, it won’t provide enough vitamin D. To get enough in your system, consume vitamin D drops.
- It also contains antibodies
It also contains anti-virus and bacteria-fighting antibodies, which help protect the baby from illness during the early months.
When a baby is exposed to bacteria or viruses, the IgA antibodies begin to form in the milk. This immunity system helps protect the baby from getting sick.
Unfortunately, formula doesn’t provide enough protection for babies; not being breastfed increases a baby’s chances of getting sick.
- The nutrients and antibodies may reduce disease risk
Exclusive breastfeeding is beneficial for your baby. It can reduce your child’s risk of many illnesses and diseases.
It’s also important to exclusively breastfeed for the protection of babies from various illnesses. Breastfeeding can also help protect babies from respiratory tract infections and other gastrointestinal illnesses. It can also decrease the risk of getting a serious cold.
Also, breastfeeding can help prevent infant mortality due to intestinal tissue damage. It’s also linked to a reduction in the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome. Being breastfed can also help prevent a baby from developing various diseases, such as colitis and Crohn’s disease. It can also decrease the risk of type 1 diabetes and childhood leukemia.
Studies show that breastfeeding can promote healthy weight gain and prevent childhood obesity. It’s believed that the beneficial bacteria in the gut of breastfed babies can affect the storage of fat.
Also, breastfeeding produces higher levels of the hormone leptin in its systems, which helps regulate appetite and fat storage. This helps breastfeeding babies develop healthy eating patterns.
- Breastfeeding may correlate to childrens’ intelligence
It’s also believed that breastfeeding helps boost the brain development of infants.
Factors such as breastfeeding’s effect on a baby’s intelligence and the nutrients it provides are also known to have a positive effect on a child’s development.
The long-term effects of breastfeeding are also beneficial for infants with a higher risk of developing developmental issues.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers
- Breastfeeding can help mothers lose baby weight
There are also many reasons why breastfeeding babies can seem to gain weight. One of these is that it burns more calories than breastfeeding. After three months, the effects of breastfeeding seem to be less significant.
- Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract
During pregnancy, the uterus grows rapidly and fills almost the entire abdomen. This process, known as involution, is caused by the hormone oxytocin.
The high levels of oxytocin that you secrete during labor can help nourish the baby and reduce bleeding. Studies also suggest that breastfeeding can help improve the blood flow to the uterus.
- Breastfeeding lowers your risk for PPD
Postpartum depression is a condition that can develop after a woman has given birth. A 2012 study found that breastfeeding mothers were less prone to experiencing this type of depression.
Although women who have had a baby are less likely to experience postpartum depression, those who are still breastfeeding are still more prone to having difficulty doing this.
- It also lowers your risk for disease
Being a breastfeeding mother is known to lower a woman’s risk of various diseases and cancer. In addition, being a part of a breastfeeding group is linked to a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- It can prevent menstruation post-birth
Being a breastfeeding mother can also help women maintain a regular menstrual cycle. It’s believed that this process helps nourish the uterus and provides a sense of time for women.
- Breastfeeding saves you money and time
Most breastfeeding mothers are free to choose breastfeeding. Not only do they save time, but they also don’t have to spend a huge amount of money on formula. Having a well-trained and organized breastfeeding staff can help you make breastfeeding easier and less time-consuming.
Although it’s recommended that women start breastfeeding at the age of 6 months, most health agencies still recommend it for everyone.
It’s also known that breastfeeding helps protect a baby from chronic diseases and illness.
Since there are many reasons to choose to breastfeed, your healthcare team can help you make the best possible choice for yourself.
What you should take away
Despite the numerous advantages of breastfeeding, most health agencies still recommend it for everyone. Milk contains various antibodies that can protect the baby from illness.
Your healthcare team can help you make the right choice for yourself and your baby.