A mother’s milk is said to be the most nutritious food for a new born baby. It contains the perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals needed for your baby and changes to keep up with your baby’s growing needs. However, the benefits of breastfeeding extend way beyond nutritional value. Breastfeeding is beneficial for both you and your baby. Ideally, a baby should be breastfed for at least the first six months.
Here are 5 major benefits of breastfeeding.
- Stronger immunity: Mother’s milk is rich in antibodies and a number of unique compounds that help the newborn child’s body fight bacterial and viral infections. No other form of baby food is as rich in these antibodies. Babies who have been breastfed have a lower risk of suffering from ailments such as ear infection, stomach upsets and respiratory problems. The first milk expressed by a woman’s breasts after giving birth is known as colostrums. This milk coats the baby’s digestive system and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Fewer allergies: Breast milk is easier to digest than formula or cow’s milk. This protects the gastrointestinal passages from inflammation and prevents undigested food from triggering allergic reactions. Being breastfed can also reduce the number of allergies a child may suffer from in their later years.
- Healthy body weight: Breastfeeding makes a child less likely to suffer from obesity in their later childhood and adult years. This is because breast milk contains less insulin and more hormones as compared to formula. This helps regulate fat absorption. On an average, babied fed on formula put on weight quickly and are more likely to overeat in their later years.
- Stronger bones: Breastfeeding is beneficial for both the child and the mother. When a woman is breastfeeding her child, her body’s ability to absorb calcium increases. This helps increase bone density, especially as pregnancy can make bones weak.
- Builds a strong mother-child bond: After 9 months of carrying a child to term, giving birth may lead to post partum depression and a mother may feel the connection between her and the child severed. Breastfeeding helps nurture this connection and provides emotional relief to both the mother and child. For the mother, this experience releases hormones that reduce stress and relax the body. For the baby, close physical contact is very important and this process provides the perfect opportunity to do so.