Health One Family Medicine

The Advantages of Breastfeeding

When it comes to the ideal nutrition for newborn babies, there is nothing better than breastfeeding!

Breast milk has all the essential nutrients in the right amounts, hence providing optimal nutrition to babies. In addition to being readily available, baby’s sensitive digestive system finds it easy to digest.

Research studies present a wealth of evidence supporting the health benefits of breastfeeding for both the baby and the mother.

Here are the top five benefits of breastfeeding.

1.   Ideal nutrition source

The reason why breast is best is that it contains everything your baby needs for the first six months after he/she is born. On top of that, it changes its composition to suit the baby’s needs, particularly in the first month.

During the initial post-birth days, the breasts produce a thick yellowish fluid called colostrum, which is low in sugar and contains high amounts of protein and other beneficial compounds. It helps the baby’s immature digestive tract grow.

Once the baby’s stomach is strong enough, the breasts start producing larger amounts of milk.

2.   Reduces the risk of diseases

Breast milk is loaded with antibodies that keep away viruses and bacteria, and hence reduce the risk of diseases.

Colostrum contains a high concentration of immunoglobulin A, as well as other antibodies. Immunoglobulin A forms a protective layer in the newborn’s nose, throat, and digestive tract to prevent him from getting ill. 

Moreover, the antibodies that the mother produces upon exposure to viruses or bacteria are also transferred to the baby during breastfeeding.

3.   Promotes healthy weight

Breastfeeding results in a healthy weight gain in the baby and prevents obesity in children. It leads to the development of healthy gut bacteria that control fat storage.  

In addition to this, breastfed babies have more leptin in their systems, a vital hormone that regulates appetite and fat storage. Breastfeeding also promotes the development of healthy eating patterns – babies self-regulate their milk intake and thus, are able to stop eating as soon as their hunger is satisfied.

4.   Makes children smarter

The eye contact, touch, and physical closeness between the mother and her baby during breastfeeding are linked to his brain development. These babies grow up to be more intelligent and are less likely to have behavior and learning problems.

5.   Lowers the risk of depression in mothers

About 15% of the mothers suffer from postpartum depression.

The hormonal changes associated with breastfeeding promote maternal caregiving and bonding, and hence reduce the risk of postpartum depression. The oxytocin levels are particularly increased – and it produces anti-anxiety effects.

These are some amazing advantages of breastfeeding your baby. After all, it is not only beneficial for the baby but also convenient and stress reducing for the mother. As an added bonus, the mother can sit down, relax, and enjoy some quality time bonding with your newborn!