Breast milk is best for your baby and I’m sure you’ve heard of it again and again before. Pediatricians actually strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first few months, shying away from the use of cow’s milk or powdered formula milk. But have you ever wondered why? And how can something so natural be so effective? Here we try explaining the breastfeeding benefits and why it is so.
Breast milk is a unique nutritional source that cannot be replaced by any other type of food or formula. How is it produced? (This is a common question too). The extensive changes taking place inside your breasts are so complex and remarkable during pregnancy. To make it simple, the developing placenta, where your baby in utero obtains nutrition from, stimulates the release of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which then facilitates the biological milk production system possible. So breast milk only starts its production only after you give birth to your baby and the hormones facilitate this.
Breast milk contains all the vitamins and nutrients our baby needs in the first six months of life. Feeding your baby with just breast milk will be enough for him or her to grow. In addition, breast milk also contains disease-fighting substances called antibodies that protect your baby’s body from illnesses. The substance, known as Immunoglobulin A, guards against invading bacteria and viruses by forming a protective layer along your baby’s intestines, nose, and throat.
In fact, some research has shown that children who are breastfed have a 20 percent lower risk of dying between the ages of 28 days and 1 year than children who weren’t breastfed. Studies also found out that the longer the breast feeding duration, the lower risk of infant morbidity and mortality.
It has also been shown that breastfeeding may also help prevent your children from contracting type 1 and type 2 diabetes later in life. Some other conditions, such as high cholesterol and inflammatory bowel disease, may also be prevented with exclusive breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding also benefits the mothers too! It was found that mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life. Also, they are able to lose their pregnancy weight more easily. Breastfeeding mothers also have a lower risk of contracting breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer, as compared to their non-breastfeeding counterparts.