10 Advantages of Breastfeeding for Mother and Baby
Owing to the fact that breast milk is the most natural and healthy source of nutrients for an infant, most of the mothers quit breastfeeding even before their baby is two months old. This is perhaps because they think formula milk is a much better option than natural breast milk. But, in fact, that is not true at all. There are a number of scientifically proven advantages of breastfeeding that formula feeding can never ever offer. Let’s take a look at them!
Advantages of Breastfeeding for a Baby
Unlike formula feeding, where the milk remains same from feeding to feeding, breastfeeding provides ‘custom-made’ breast milk to the baby in order to fulfill all his nutritional needs. Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial for a baby because it:
Provides Optimal Nutrition to Your Baby:
As breast milk contains exactly the right blend of all the essential nutrients that your baby needs to be healthy, it helps your little one grow and develop faster. What’s more interesting is that your breast milk also changes to keep up with your growing baby’s nutrition needs.
Boosts Your Baby's Immune System:
According to scientists, breastfed babies have stronger immune systems due to secretory IgA – an antibody found only in the breast milk. Providing a layer of protection to the gastrointestinal tract, this immune component not only gives your baby powers to fight against various infections but also minimizes his chances of developing any kind of allergic reactions later in life.
Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases:
Another great advantage of breastfeeding for the baby is a lower risk of developing chronic (long-term) diseases, such as celiac disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, etc. In other words, breastfeeding provides an infant long-term protection from progressive diseases, which often lead to childhood disability.
Boosts Your Child's Intelligence:
Studies show that babies who are breastfed have both higher intelligence scores and better academic achievements than children who are formula fed. According to experts, there is an emotional bonding between a breastfeeding mother and her baby, which plays a vital role in boosting baby’s brain power.
Protects Your Baby from Obesity:
As breast milk contains less insulin (a peptide hormone that stimulates the creation of fat) as compared to formula, it saves your little one from becoming overweight or obese. In fact, if you don’t breastfeed your infant, the risk of obesity increases by 20- 30%.
Advantages of Breastfeeding for a Mother
In addition to emotional satisfaction, breastfeeding provides a number of psychological, physical, and practical benefits to mothers, of which some are listed here:
Reduces the Risk of Cancer:
Women who breastfeed are at lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, including uterine, ovarian and premenopausal/postmenopausal breast cancer. In fact, if your lifetime duration of breastfeeding is more than 12 months, you have a 25% lower risk of developing breast cancer. Additionally, you produce a very small amount of estrogen during lactation, which proves a boon to prevent both breast and ovarian cancer.
Strengthens the Maternal-infant Bond:
Breastfeeding is indeed more than just a food. There are several hormones that release during breastfeeding to strengthen the emotional bonding between you and your baby. Also, breastfeeding promotes activities like touch, response, and mutual gazing, which helps you understand your child’s emotional state better.
Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis:
Researchers say that if you don’t breastfeed, you’re at a high risk of experiencing bone-mineral loss sooner or later in your lifetime. Breastfeeding prevents your bones from getting weak later in life as well as cut your risk of suffering from hip fractures in the postmenopausal period.
Prevents Postpartum Depression:
Breastfeeding not only benefits your body but also promotes your emotional health. Releasing Oxytocin, a hormone that lowers your blood pressure, breastfeeding makes you feel positive and happy. As a result, you’re less likely to suffer from postnatal anxiety or other mental health issues.
Promotes Faster Weight Loss After Birth:
Since a nursing woman burns about 500 calories a day to produce the sufficient amount of breast milk for her baby, she is likely to lose post-pregnancy weight faster. In addition, mothers who breastfeed achieve their pre-pregnancy figure earlier than mothers who don’t.