If you've considered not breastfeeding your newborn, you're likely swamped with data. It is a decision that only you can make, yet the benefits appear to be unlimited.
Before you decide (or if you need confirmation that breast milk is the best option), let's review the benefits for both you and your child.
Infants receive maximum nourishment from breast milk. It is nutrient-dense, easily digestible, and commonly available.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby
The majority of medical practitioners urge exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, if not longer.
Breast milk contains all the nutrients a newborn requires during the first six months of life, in the correct amounts. Even its composition adapts to the baby's changing needs, particularly during the first month of life.
During the first few days after birth, the breasts produce colostrum, a thick, yellowish fluid. It is rich in protein, low in sugar, and brimming with health-promoting chemicals. It is a genuinely miraculous dish that cannot be replaced by formula.
Colostrum is the optimal first milk and aids in the development of the infant's underdeveloped digestive system. As the baby's tummy grows, the breasts begin to produce more milk after the first few days.
Breast Milk includes Essential Antibodies
Antibodies abundant in breast milk assist your infant fight off viruses and germs, which is crucial in the infant's early months.
This is especially true for colostrum, the first milk. Colostrum contains enormous levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and other antibodies.
When exposed to viruses or bacteria, the body begins to produce antibodies, which then enter the milk. Baby, it's immunity!
Breastfeeding can Reduce the risk of Disease
Exclusive nursing, in which the infant consumes solely breast milk, is especially advantageous.
It may lessen your baby's risk for numerous diseases and conditions, including:
- Chronic middle ear infections
Long beyond infancy, middle ear, throat, and sinus infections may be prevented by exclusive breastfeeding for as long as possible.
- Respiratory tract illnesses
Breastfeeding can protect against a variety of acute respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.
- Colds and illnesses
Babies who have been exclusively breastfed for six months may have a decreased chance of developing severe colds and ear or throat infections.
- Bowel infections
Breastfeeding is associated with a decrease in intestinal illnesses.
- Intestinal tissue injury
The consumption of breast milk by preterm infants is associated with a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis.
- Sudden newborn death syndrome (SIDS)
Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Allergic conditions
Asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema are less likely in infants who breastfeed.
Breast Milk Promotes a Healthy Weight for Infants.
Breastfeeding encourages healthy weight gain and aids in the prevention of childhood obesity.
One study found that a baby's risk of becoming overweight or obese was significantly reduced if he or she was breastfed for more than four months.
This may be the result of the evolution of gut microorganisms. Breastfed infants have more good gut flora, which may influence fat storage.
Additionally, breastfed infants had higher levels of leptin than formula-fed infants. Leptin is an essential hormone for controlling hunger and fat accumulation.
Additionally, breastfed infants self-regulate their milk intake. They are better at eating until their hunger is satiated, which helps them develop healthy eating habits.
Breastfeeding may Improve Cognitive Development
Infants who are breastfed may perform better on these tests. There may be a difference in brain development between breastfed and formula-fed infants, according to several studies.
This difference may be attributable to the physical closeness, touch, and eye contact involved with breastfeeding, in addition to the nutrient content.
According to studies, breastfed infants have higher IQs and are less prone to suffer behavioral issues and learning impairments as they age.
However, the consequences are most obvious in premature infants, who are at a greater risk for developmental problems.
The research demonstrates that breastfeeding has substantial favorable benefits on the long-term brain development of infants.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for you
Breastfeeding may aid weight loss
You may have heard this phrase frequently. While some women appear to gain weight while breastfeeding, others appear to lose weight simply.
Breastfeeding burns more calories, and after three months of lactation, you will likely see a greater boost in fat burning than non-breastfeeding women. Although the difference is negligible.
Breastfeeding facilitates uterine contraction
During pregnancy, your uterus swells tremendously, going from the size of a pear to nearly filling your abdomen.
Following childbirth, the uterus undergoes involution, which helps it recover to its original size. This process is driven in part by oxytocin, a hormone that rises during pregnancy.
During labor, your body secretes large quantities of oxytocin to aid in childbirth and minimize bleeding. It can also facilitate bonding with your newborn.
Oxytocin levels rise during nursing as well. It stimulates uterine contractions and minimizes bleeding, thereby restoring the uterus to its original size.
Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of depression
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a form of depression that can manifest soon after childbirth.
A 2012 study found that women who breastfeed are less likely to suffer postpartum depression than mothers who wean early or do not breastfeed.
Those who experience postpartum depression early after delivery are also more likely to have difficulty breastfeeding and to do so for a shorter period of time.
If you experience any signs of PPD, consult your doctor immediately.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of disease
Breastfeeding appears to offer long-term protection against cancer and multiple other disorders.
Total duration of breastfeeding is associated with a decreased incidence of breast and ovarian cancer.
Women who breastfeed are less likely to experience:
- elevated blood pressure
- elevated blood fats
- cardiac disease
- type 2 diabetes
Breastfeeding could prevent menstruation.
Additionally, breastfeeding halts ovulation and menstruation. The cessation of menstruation may be nature's way of guaranteeing sufficient time between pregnancies.
You may view this modification as an added bonus. As you cherish your time with your infant, you will have one less thing to worry about.
During the first few weeks postpartum, mothers require nursing bras that are functional, comfortable, and supportive. You can try this best supporting nursing bra that is created with the needs of new mothers in mind, since it not only provides support and aids shape, but is also constructed from the natural milk yarn, which nourishes and moisturizes the skin. The distinctive yarn blend enhances skin suppleness.
This postpartum nursing bra is designed with an elastic band across the chest to provide additional support during feeding.
Related Blog: Importance of Nursing Bras