Breast milk is one of the most precious gifts of nature. It is simply love turned into food. There are numerous advantages of breastfeeding that parents must know. All the sensible mothers feed their infants with their breast milk regularly for at least a year and their babies are commonly very healthy and fit. Moreover, USDA guidelines recommend breastfeeding the infants for at least 6 months.
Composition of human milk
Human milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats and minerals.
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is a fluid secreted by human breasts before the secretion of milk. It is rich in antibodies and proteins. It is very healthy and is important for the immunity of new-born. Moreover, it helps prevent allergies including food allergies.
Why is breast milk superior to formula milk?
Breast milk is a fluid of unmatched value both in terms of health and goodness. It is superior to the formula milk in the following aspects.
- It contains immunoglobulins and other proteins. So, it helps with infection prevention. Moreover, it reduces the risk of food allergies as well as other allergies later in life.
- Human milk contains good fats that are necessary for brain development.
- The energy that is provided by breast milk is better utilized than that of the energy provided by formula milk.
- It is readily available.
- It is economical.
- Breast milk is sterile and you do not need any bottles or feeder sterilizers.
- It is at an optimum temperature.
- It has a wide range of vitamins and minerals in it making it easily digestible.
- It contains certain proteins that are essential in the development of the human gastrointestinal system. Hence it helps in the proper development of the gut.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers
Breastfeeding not only benefits the baby but also it is of great value for the mothers.
- Breastfeeding reduces the chances of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.
- It helps in natural contraception by suppressing the ovulation.
- Breastfeeding promotes the bonding between the mom and the baby due to the release of oxytocin hormone.
- Mothers who breastfeed recover from childbirth earlier than those who do not.
- Breastfeeding may prevent the mother from developing certain diseases like type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis etc.
- It evokes the sensation of fulfilment and calmness in the nursing mother. This is due to the release of the hormone prolactin.
- The nursing mothers regain their pre-pregnancy figure earlier because they lose weight.
- The mother remains healthy and there are very infrequent visits to hospitals.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the baby
It is a magical food for the little tummy with a wide range of health benefits.
- It helps in preventing infections.
- It is secreted exactly according to the feeding demands of the baby
- The breastfed children have decreased risk of developing type 1 and type 2 Diabetes.
- Colostrum provides proteins that are necessary for gut maturation and good digestion.
- Colostrum is the most superior nutrition for your newborn in his early life.
- The babies who are breastfed have a lesser chance to develop nappy rashes.
- Breastfed children have a low incidence of developing diarrhoea, nausea, constipation and other stomach ailments.
- It promotes the development of teeth and jaws.
- Children, who are breastfed, tend to have better IQ owing to the good brain development in their early life.
Does breastfeeding help prevent food allergies?
While breastfeeding offers many benefits both for mom and baby, it has not been shown to help prevent food allergies. However, there is new landmark research that shows that introducing allergens early and often to your baby can help prevent food allergies.
The final verdict:
With the numerous benefits of breast-feeding, it is obvious that it should be every mother’s first preference. However, the choice is always yours.