In recent years, study after study has come out revealing a huge number of reasons why breastfeeding is the best choice for a newborn baby. Not only does it have many health benefits for the baby, new research is now proving it’s healthy for the mom as well. Making the choice to breastfeed your baby is without a doubt the best thing you can do for both of you.
Breastfeeding and Nutrition
Breast milk is a complex liquid; it comprises an incredible number of vitamins, minerals, and antibodies that your baby simply can’t get anywhere else. In spite of improvements to formula over the years, it is still light years away from matching what nature has created for your baby.
In addition to providing compounds that can’t be replicated, breast milk is created by the body to meet the specific needs of your baby. Studies have shown that the composition of breast milk changes over time as your baby’s nutritional needs change with growth. The body even adjusts the content of the breast milk to meet the needs of a baby born prematurely. Thus, your particular breast milk is the best possible baby food for your particular baby.
Benefits for the Baby
The benefits to breastfeeding your baby are numerous, and more are being discovered all the time. Breast milk is the only source of antibodies in the first months of life, when baby’s body isn’t yet able to produce them. This means that a breastfed baby will have greater protection against illness. Even when baby’s body does start to produce antibodies, the breast milk will continue to provide immune support. Breastfed babies suffer fewer colds and other common childhood illnesses than babies who are formula fed.
Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop a number of health problems later in life, including obesity, respiratory problems including asthma, allergies, leukemia, diabetes and many more. Studies have also indicated that breastfeeding reduces the chances of SIDS.
Breast milk is easier for a baby’s delicate digestive system to handle, so it may also reduce problems with gas, constipation and reflux.
Benefits for the Mother
New research shows that mothers who breastfeed have lower incidences of postpartum depression. They are also at a lower risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. In addition to these major health benefits, breastfeeding can help a new mother to lose the extra baby weight faster, as the production of breast milk burns calories.
The benefits aren’t just health ones either. Breastfeeding saves a large amount of money over having to purchase formula, which can be very expensive. You also won’t have to purchase bottles, nipples, or sterilizing products – nor will you have to spend time on the process of sterilization. This can be a huge benefit in the middle of the night, when you can simply feed baby without having to go make a bottle and get it to the right temperature.
One of the biggest benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby is the special bond that it creates. The time spent nursing your baby will become a special quiet time that you will cherish. Studies have shown that the skin-on-skin contact is beneficial to baby’s growth and development as well. For this reason, a system of skin contact known as “kangaroo care” has been implemented in hospitals with premature babies who are not yet able to nurse. Premature babies who get kangaroo care tend to do better than those who do not. Your baby can get the same benefits from time spent breastfeeding.