Importance of Breastfeeding for Mother and the Baby
Breast milk is best for the baby and contains all the vitamins & nutrients that are important for the baby to survive for the first six months of life. It also boosts immunity of the baby & provides disease-fighting substances. It is highly recommended to exclusively breastfeed the baby for at least first six months.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits, not just for the baby but for the mother too.
The antibodies present in the breast milk are essential for the baby and help boost baby’s immune system to protect them against many illnesses. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from a long list of illness likes stomach viruses, respiratory issues, ear infections etc. A substance called Secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) is present in large amounts in colostrum (the first milk your body produces) which guards against germs by forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes in the baby’s intestines, nose, and throat. Formula fed babies do not get this layer of protection on the mucous membranes and are more vulnerable to allergies, and other health issues.
Many scientists & researchers believe that breastfeeding boosts a child’s intelligence & improves cognitive development.
Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese in their teen or adult life. Breast milk contains less insulin than formula. Breastfed babies also have more leptin hormone in their body, which regulates appetite and fat.
- Mother who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin hormone that promotes relaxation. Oxytocin hormone is also responsible for the contraction of the uterus post delivery resulting in less postpartum bleeding. Oxytocin hormone also helps lower blood pressure of the breastfeeding mother.
- Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of some types of cancer in the mother like breast and ovarian cancer.
- Exclusive breastfeeding may help the mother to achieve pre-pregnancy weight sooner.
It is important that the baby receives breast milk for at least first six months of their life (although any amount of breast milk is beneficial). To know more about the health benefits of breast milk, consult our lifestyle expert & nutritionist, Dt. GurleenKaur.