The benefits of breastfeeding offers incredible benefits to both baby and mom. There are also ways to get the father involved allowing both parents the opportunity to bond with your baby.
The mental, physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding are plentiful. Following is a list of top 10 reasons to breastfeed:
Perfect Amount of Nutrition and Antibodies
Breastfeeding is consideried the “natural” way to feed a newborn as a mother’s body naturally creates the correct balance of nutrients and antibodies a baby needs, including exact proportions. The benefits of breastfeeding is most beneficial within the first 6 months, and especially during the first few days. Immediately following birth, mothers produce a fluid called colostrum that is filled with protein and antibodies that help protect the baby from disease and help build a strong immune system.
Boosts Development and Growth
Breastmilk provides the perfect proportions of proteins, vitamins, antibodies, and carbohydrates that a newborn requires to develop and grow. It is typically easier for a baby to absorb important minerals such as calcium and iron through breastmilk – which helps promote strength and growth. Since Vitamin D is not present in breastmilk, it can be supplemented with Vitamin D drops – check with your baby’s doctor for guidance.
Strengthens Immune System
Babies that are breastfed for at least four months are less likely to develop conditions such as food allergies or asthma. This is due partly to the colostrum produced in the first days after birth and the high levels of protein in breastmilk, which help promote a healthy immune system.
Reduces Risk of SIDS
Breastfeeding for at least 2 months has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. SIDS can be caused by an underdevelopment of the part of the baby’s brain that controls their breathing during sleep. Babies that have been breastfed are more likely to wake up during sleep, which teaches them the capability to wake themselves if there is a problem while they sleep.
Creates Dedicated Bonding Time
The time in which you spend nursing your newborn is precious and allows you to bond with your baby on a very personal level. It fosters relaxation for both baby and mom and allows them to spend quality time together. The skin on skin contact is healing and comforting.
Easier to Digest
Breast milk contains enzymes that make it often much easier for a baby to digest compared to formula. Most formula is made from cow’s milk, which contains enzymes that a baby’s digestive system still has not yet developed enough to properly digest. This ease in digestion helps babies avoid acid reflux and an upset stomach.
Speeds Up Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss
Breastfeeding moms naturally burn calories to make breast milk every time they nurse. Lactation also causes the uterus to contract, causing your body to work extra hard to reduce it back to its original size pre-pregnancy. Often women who breastfeed will tend to lose extra pregnancy weight quickly.
Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer
Studies have shown the longer you breastfeed, the lower your chance of breast cancer. Women who breastfeed have fewer menstrual cycles throughout their lives, and therefore less exposure to estrogen, which has been shown to fuel some types of breast cancers. Another theory: breastfeeding makes breast cells more resistant to mutations that can cause cancer.
Saves Money & Time
Breastfeeding allows you to avoid the expense of costly formulas and supplements. It also allows you to avoid the time and effort to prepare baby bottles, mixing solutions and warming formula.
Lowers Your Risk of Depression and Postpartum
During nursing, your body creates extra oxytocin, which helps fight against general and postpartum depression. The extra bonding time with your newborn also helps prevent depression by allowing the mother to feel close to her baby and feel comforted by the baby’s breathing and body to body contact.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding Last a Long Time
Breastfeeding is a wonderful resource to offer your baby good nutrition and give them a strong, natural start in life. If breastfeeding is an option, the benefits are immense from physical, to mental to emotional.
If you have any questions, please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our doctors.