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Breast feeding - Why it is Important for Your Baby?

MD- Paediatrics & Neonatology, MBBS
Pediatrician, Gurgaon  •  16 years experience
Breast feeding - Why it is Important for Your Baby?

A baby should be breastfeed for at least the first few months after birth. Breastfeeding has a number of benefits for both the mother and child. Apart from being the best source of nutrition for the baby, it also helps the mother and child bond.

Here are a few benefits of breastfeeding your baby.

  1. Nutrition: No formula can be compared to the nutrition provided by a mother’s milk. The first milk produced by a mother’s breasts is known as colostrum which is rich in antibodies and proteins. Breast milk is made up of the perfect mix of proteins, vitamins and essential fats. It is also easier to digest as compared to formula feeds.
  2. Immunity boost: A mother’s milk is rich in antibodies and helps strengthen the newborn child’s immunity. These antibodies also help lower the baby’s risk of developing asthma or allergies later in life. Babies that are breastfed are also said to have a lower risk of suffering from ear infections, respiratory problems and diarrhoea. It also plays an important role in lowering chances of sudden infant death syndrome. Breastfeeding is also said to protect babies from certain types of cancer in infancy and later stages,
  3. Bonding: While being breastfed, a baby is held close to the mother and has skin to skin contact. This makes the baby feel secure and helps him or her to bond with the mother. For the mother, this process can also help fight postpartum depression and help reconnect with the baby.
  4. Healthy weight: Babies who are breastfed are said to be less likely to develop obesity. This is because breast milk has lower levels of insulin as compared to formula and babies who are breastfed have higher level of appetite and fat regulating hormone called leptin. As they grow, these babies put on a healthy amount of weight, but refrain from overeating and have healthier eating patterns. This helps maintain a healthy BMI and prevents diseases like diabetes etc.
  5. Boosts intelligence: Studies show that babies who were breastfed for the first six months have a higher IQ than those who were not. Thus, breastfeeding is said to play a significant role in cognitive development. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, breast milk is said to fatty acids that are not available in formulas, Secondly, the emotional bonding between mother and child is also said to contribute towards boosting IQ levels.
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