Breastfeeding has numerous benefits, both for mums and babies. Breast milk is the best source of sustenance for your baby. Why? Well, breast milk contains important white blood cells that protect your baby from harmful germs. Breast milk also contains Immunoglobulin A (IgA) which coats the lining of your baby’s intestines to protect against harmful germs and prevents food allergies from developing. Colostrum, the milk produced during the first few days after birth, acts as your baby’s first immunization. Breast milk also contains antibodies that fill the immunity gap before your baby’s immune system matures. Your body even has the ability to manufacture specific antibodies to protect your baby if it is exposed to a new germ!
Studies show that breastfed babies reap some amazing health benefits including...
- Fewer ear infections
- Less need for orthodontics
- Fewer and less sever upper respiratory infections
- Less pneumonia and influenza
- Lower cholesterol as adults
- Less gastrointestinal infections, diarrhoea, and constipation
- 6 or more months of breastfeeding leads to a lowered risk of food allergies
- Better response to vaccinations
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Fewer urinary tract infections
- Lowered risk of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- Less allergic eczema
- Breastfed babies are leaner at one year
- Breast milk is easier on the kidneys – it has less salt and protein than formula
- Stool has less offensive odour
It is clear that breast milk has some fantastic benefits for your baby’s development, but what about mum? Some benefits for breastfeeding mums include...
- Reduced risk of breast cancer by as much as 25%
- Reduced risk of uterine and ovarian cancer
- Breastfeeding for 1 year or more, reduces risk of developing heart disease conditions by 10%
- Reduced risk of high blood pressure by 12% and high cholesterol by 20%
- Lowered risk of osteoporosis
- Delayed ovulation which allows for natural child spacing
- Better emotional health – breastfeeding mums show less postpartum anxiety
- Promotes weight loss – breastfeeding can burn about 500 calories a day
- Costs less than formula feeding
It’s no wonder that so many health organizations embrace breast milk as the best form of nutrition for growing babies. But remember if you can’t breastfeed, don’t despair, expressing your breast milk gives baby all the benefits of breast milk plus dad and others get to enjoy some quality bonding time and give mums a little break.