Benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother

Breastfeeding, that wonderful bond between mother and baby, is an incredible experience for both. It is actually the most natural and beneficial thing a mother can do for her baby. In today’s fast-paced world, it may seem easier to feed your baby formula and you may have heard this is just as good as breastfeeding, and although it isn’t a terrible choice to use formula, breastfeeding’s qualities are simply not replaceable.

Breast milk has properties that a formula simply cannot mimic, no matter what kind or how many vitamins and minerals are added. Just think of it like this: your body wouldn’t produce milk if it wasn’t supposed to be used. It is nature’s way of allowing mothers to give their babies the most complete nutrition available. The best thing about breastfeeding is all the benefits that are provided to both mom and baby.

Health Benefits to the Baby

  • Complete mix of nutrients. Breast milk is the ideal choice because it contains all of the necessary nutrients that the baby needs.
  • Changing breast milk. A woman’s body is adapted to the baby’s, meaning that the breast milk’s composition will change to give the baby the nutrients it needs at any given age.
  • A baby is at lower risk for the following health problems: ear infections, stomach viruses, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, respiratory infections, atopic dermatitis, asthma, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, allergies, colic, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and some gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Decreased risk of tooth decay. Children have fewer cavities if they are breastfed as infants.
  • Promotes healthy growth. Breastfeeding promotes the development of the facial structure, improves speech, straightens teeth, and strengthens vision.
  • Internal development. By internal, I mean emotionally and spiritually; a baby who is breastfed develops more strongly in these areas.
  • Acquired antibodies. Breast milk contains antibodies (that come from the mother) that baby’s benefit from. If the baby doesn’t have those antibodies, they are more susceptible to certain infections and diseases.
  • Colostrum benefits. Colostrum is the first milk that a woman produces when breastfeeding; it coats the gastrointestinal tract, providing a shield against some bacteria. Colostrum also acts as a natural laxative so it can help clear the baby’s intestines of bacteria and other things.
  • Easier to digest. For most babies, the proteins in breast milk are easier to digest than formula, which comes from cow’s milk.
  • Entering the real world peacefully. Breastfeeding provides a nice transition to an infant as they are entering a whole new world.

Health Benefits for the Mother

  • Healthier child. As a mother, ensuring that your child is the healthy as can be is your top priority. Knowing that breast milk contains all of the ingredients to make your child as healthy as can be is a good and comforting thought.
  • Easier. Breastfeeding makes everyone’s life easier because you don’t have to purchase, measure, mix, or heat breast milk!
  • Cheaper. Breastfeeding is free; buying formulas is not. One year of buying formula can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the brand.
  • Safer. With breastfeeding, there aren’t any bottles or nipples to sterilize, and breast milk cannot get contaminated because it goes straight to the baby’s mouth from the breast.
  • Special bond. Breastfeeding provides an irreplaceable bond between a mother and her baby. Newborns need to feel loved, comforted, and secure; breastfeeding is perfect for that.
  • Reduces the mother’s risk of: type 2 Diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.
  • Increases rate of weight loss. The CDC says that breastfeeding increases the rate of weight loss in women between 3 and 12 months.
  • Delays fertility. Fertility often sets in soon after a woman has had her baby; breastfeeding can delay that onset.
Last updated on Jul 3rd, 2010 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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