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Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Editor, with inputs from Sangeeta Nair

Mother's milk is the best food for babies. It contains exactly the right amount of nutrients required, in the right proportions, to ensure that your baby gets the perfect balanced meal.

Today, more and more mothers are opting to bottle-feed their babies earlier than they used to. Women now start the baby on the bottles as early as possible and stop breastfeeding in just 1 or 2 months.

Perhaps if mothers were aware of the tremendous benefits of breastfeeding for a prolonged period, they would rethink their decision.

One of the prime reasons mothers stop breastfeeding early is because they need to return to work. The question then arises that should they pump and store breastmilk? Is it worth the effort? If they have to breastfeed for such a short period of time is it really worth it to breastfeed at all? The answer is yes! Here's why.

Mother's milk is undoubtedly the best food for babies. It is a living fluid and contains exactly the right amount of nutrients required by a baby, in the right proportions, to ensure that the baby gets the perfect balanced meal. No manufactured milk, no matter how fortified it may be, comes even close to being as nutritious as breast milk.

Increases immunity

Needless to say, a newborn is extremely delicate and is susceptible to many diseases. It is thus recommended that mothers always breastfeed the baby in the beginning. Even if they cannot breastfeed the baby for a prolonged period of time, they should definitely try and breastfeed the baby in the initial stages. The initial milk that flows out of a mother's breast is called colostrum, and this colostrums is packed with antibodies that increase a baby's immunity. In addition, colostrum also protects a newborn's intestines and strengthens his respiratory system.

In addition, studies have shown that babies who have been artificially fed have higher chances of developing pneumonia, gastroenteritis, middle ear infections and various other health problems. Breastfed babies also react better to other immunizations.

Increases intelligence

Do you want your child to grow up to be intelligent? Breastfed babies have better brain development than their non-breastfed counterparts. Of course, there are various other reasons that contribute to brain development, but research shows that breastmilk also contributes to this. Human milk has certain ingredients which are not found in artificial milk, which contributes to brain development.

Essentially, the benefits of breastfeeding are almost immediate, and your baby reaps the benefits as soon as you start breastfeeding him. The longer you breastfeed your baby, the better it is for him. In general, a baby should be fed breastmilk exclusively for at least six months.

Beneficial for premature babies

If your baby is premature, your breastmilk will also be premature, and this breastmilk contains nutrients suited to the needs of a premature baby. Nature provides for everything! In addition, this milk will be easier to digest for the poorly developed digestive system of a premature baby.

Suckling benefits

There are some cases where the baby, due to certain afflictions, is unable to suckle at his mothers breast. In this case expressing breastmilk and feeding it to the baby is the best choice. However, studies have shown that not just the milk, but also the very act of breastfeeding is beneficial. Breastfed babies have stronger and better formed teeth. Suckling also improves hand to eye coordination! In addition, it allows for bonding between the mother and the baby.

If the father feels left down during breastfeeding, he can contribute to feeding the baby semi-solids and food during and after the weaning stage.

More benefits

Non-breastfed babies have higher chances of growing into obese adults.

Breastfed babies grow differently to non-breastfed babies, and have separate growth rates and patterns.

Breastfed babies have lower chances of dying in their crib due to a syndrome called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.

In addition, breastfeeding also helps a mother burn calories much quicker. So if you didn't already have enough reasons to breastfeed your newborn, remember that breastfeeding will help you lose all those extra pounds you put on during pregnancy, rapidly!


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