The development of a baby depends largely on the nutrition he/she receives. If your baby’s food is healthy, it can be directly noticed in their activities. Breastfeeding is the first and most important form of food for an infant. It has proven to be beneficial for both mother and child.

Some of the most important benefits of breastfeeding your baby.

Provides optimum nutrition to the baby

Breast milk contains all the required nutrition that a baby requires (except vitamin D). Babies must be breastfed for 6 months exclusively and continued for at least a year with an introduction to various other healthy food types.

The milk formulation changes with time and requirement. The first milk which is known as colostrum is high in protein and helps in developing babies’ digestive system. A small amount of colostrum is ingested by the baby with each feed.

Protects against diarrhea and constipation

 Breast milk is very light and easily digestible by the developing system of the baby unlike formula milk, which can be heavy, and cause digestive stress mostly caused by reflux.

Reduces risks of multiple infections

Breast milk contains antibodies, probiotics and antibacterial properties all of which help reduce chances of infections. Mother’s immune system makes antibodies against various antigens that the mother passes on to the baby. Breast milk has immunoglobulin A, which forms a protective layer in the baby’s gut, thus providing extra protection.

It is believed that breast-fed babies have reduced chances of ear infections by 50%, which is very common in babies otherwise. Minimal chances of gut infection, cold, respiratory infections, allergies. Research shows that, when mothers catch an infection during the breast feeding period, the baby develops immunity against it too.

Low risk of obesity

Breast milk contains leptin, which develops good bacteria. Leptin reduces fat storage and helps in regulating the digestive system. Such babies develop a feeling of fullness. They know when to stop feeding so their eating habits are better developed.

  • Breast-fed baby might seem more relaxed because of skin-to-skin touch. They may have higher emotional development caused by intimacy. Thus, mothers can feel when their child is hungry or shows some other emotion. This intimacy is seen to be higher among breast-fed infants.
  • Reduce the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) which is very common in babies less than a year old.
  • Cognitive development can also be linked to breast-feeding. Breast-fed babies have shown higher IQ levels.
  • Breast milk can prevent diaper rashes and skin rashes that can lead to eczema. It can help prevent sore throat in babies.

Breast-feeding benefits for the mother.

  • Helps reduce pregnancy weight. Breast-feeding burns more calories (say 500 at a time). Initially hunger quotient increases for the mother and so can the weight but after some months weight loss is visible. So when accompanied with healthy diet and exercise it can help mother lose weight drastically.
  • Helps in uterine contractions. During delivery, uterus expands multiple times when compared to it’s original size. While feeding, the body releases a hormone oxytocin, which helps to contract the uterus and get it back to its normal size. It also, prevents profuse bleeding.
  • It helps to bond with the child better. Breastfeeding mother and child develop a special relationship. It reduces chances of depression in the mother which is very commonly known as postpartum depression.
  • Protects the mother against ovarian and breast cancer. Also reduces risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Breast-feeding controls menstruation cycle and ovulation. Thus, reduced chance of unwanted pregnancy. Breast-feeding releases prolactin. It maintains levels of progesterone and estrogen. With these hormones under check, menstruation is under control and so is the pregnancy.
  • Lowers risk of osteoporosis as body at this time absorbs more calcium than usual.

Breast-feeding is better also because it saves time and money.

With formula feed, one has to be worried about sterilization of the equipment, measuring the formula, keeping a check on the quality and quantity of water used. If anything goes wrong, chances of infection increases by several folds.

Making the wrong mix of formula milk can cause digestive troubles. In addition, the formula itself can be very expensive if we calculate, the money spends yearly. Apart from that, the sterilizing apparatus, bottles, nipples all cost money. Breast-feeding does not require any special material thus, hassle free.

Considering the above-mentioned points, we can clearly say that breast-feeding is important for the overall development of both mother and baby. Breast milk works wonders in ways one does not even expect. It can work as a medicine when fed and can be topically applied for various problems. Every mother should thus, consider feeding their babies if not for a year but 6 months at least. We can believe that breast milk works wonders just as a magic potion.

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