Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants. It contains an adequate amount of nutrients, is easily digestible, and is readily available. It is recommended to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, and then continuing even after solid foods are introduced, until the baby is at least a year old or both mom and baby agree to stop.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends breastfeeding until a child is two years old or older because the benefits last that long. For the greatest benefits, these organisations recommend starting as soon as one hour after birth. You can click here to find out the best way to store breastmilk in freezer.
Here are some of the benefits of breastfeeding:
- Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for your baby
- Most doctors recommend exclusively breastfeeding for at least 6 months, if not much longer.
- Breast milk contains everything a baby requires for the first six months of life, in exactly the right amounts. Its composition changes in response to the baby’s changing needs, particularly during the first month of life.
- During the first few days after birth, your breasts produce colostrum, a thick, yellowish fluid. It’s high in protein, low in sugar, and packed with antioxidants. It is truly a miracle food that cannot be replaced by a formula.
- Colostrum is an excellent first milk that aids the development of the newborn’s immature digestive tract. As the baby’s stomach grows, the breasts begin to produce more milk after a few days.
- Breast milk contains important antibodies
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight viruses and bacteria, which is especially important during the vulnerable early months.
- This is especially true for colostrum, or first milk. Colostrum contains a high concentration of immunoglobulin A (IgA) as well as several other antibodies.
- When you are exposed to viruses or bacteria, you begin to produce antibodies, which then enter the milk.
- Babies do not receive antibody protection from formula. Numerous studies show that breastfed babies are more vulnerable to health problems such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and infection.
- Breast milk promotes healthy baby weight
- Breastfeeding encourages healthy weight gain and aids in the prevention of childhood obesity.
- According to one study, breastfeeding for more than 4 months reduced the chances of a baby becoming overweight or obese.
- This could be due to the growth of various gut bacteria. Breastfed babies have more beneficial gut bacteria, which may influence fat storage.
- Breast-fed babies have more leptin in their systems than formula-fed babies. Leptin is an important hormone in the regulation of appetite and fat storage.
- Breastfed babies self-regulate their milk intake as well. They are better at eating only until they are full, which aids in the development of healthy eating habits.
- Breast milk may make children smarter
- Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps to prevent childhood obesity.
- Breastfeeding for more than 4 months, according to one study, reduced the chances of a baby becoming overweight or obese.
- This could be due to the proliferation of different gut bacteria. Breastfed babies’ gut bacteria are more beneficial, which may influence fat storage.
- Breastfed babies have higher levels of leptin than formula-fed babies. Leptin is a hormone that helps to regulate appetite and fat storage.
- Breastfed babies also self-regulate their milk intake. They are better at only eating until they are full, which helps them develop healthy eating habits.