For many generations now, doctors have been recommending mother’s milk as the most important food for the baby as the benefits of breast milk are manifold and go beyond providing basic nutrition. There are numerous scientific studies that establish this fact.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that for the first six months, babies must be exclusively breastfed. After that breastfeeding can continue for at least 12 months along with other recommended food and can continue for as long as the baby and mother desires.
There is absolute unanimity among doctors from across the world that there are numerous health and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding. Importantly, there are also many immunological and psychological benefits too.
NATURAL, WHOLESOME AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD
Breast milk is highly recommended for babies in their initial months of growth as it has the ideal amalgamation of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and fats that any growing body needs for proper development.
Breast milk also contains vital enzymes, hormones, leukocytes and antibodies that are not present in any other natural food. This makes breast milk the perfect food for newborn babies.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Babies
Nutrition experts point out to the fact that breast milk has the ability to protect the baby from infection and can be easily digested.
• Breast milk has a good concentration of easily absorbable calcium and iron which can help in development of bone healthy bone development.
• The presence of healthy fats in breast milk encourages development of vital organs such as the brain, retina and the nervous system.
• Breast milk also contains lactose, a vital carbohydrate for developing bodies. It helps in easy absorption of calcium, magnesium and other minerals.
• Breastfed babies develop a good immune system. Colostrum or the early milk produced for the first few days after childbirth is particularly good for newborns.
• They also display signs of better cognitive development and display better I.Q than babies who are fed food other than mother’s milk.
• Breast milk also prevents a string of diseases like Sudden Infant Disease Syndrome (SIDS), allergic conditions, bowel diseases, diabetes and others.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers
While the benefits of breast milk for babies have been well-documented and firmly established, studies also reveal that breastfeeding offers many health benefits to moms too. The benefits are not only medical but emotional as well.
o It helps mitigate the risk of breast cancer and also reduces the chances uterine and ovarian cancer.
o Lessens the risk of post-partum depression as breastfeeding helps release hormones that reduces stress and creates a sense of relaxation.
o Makes it easy for moms to lose weight post pregnancy as breastfeeding helps burn calories.
o Breastfeeding saves time and money as there is no need to buy formula food and prepare it according to instructions.
o Breastfeeding women have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis than non-breastfeeding women according to research.
o Helps establish an emotional bond with the newborn.
Breastfeeding women feel less stressed and more relaxed as they can feed their babies anytime they need. There is no need for cleaning and sterilizing bottles. Moms can feed their babies on demand without having to waste time.