Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for babies. Most healthcare professionals recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months or much longer.Breast milk contains everything baby needs for the first 6 months of life, in all the right proportions. Its composition even changes according to the baby’s changing needs, especially during the first month of life.During the first days after birth, your breasts produce a thick and yellowish fluid called colostrum. It’s high in protein, low in sugar, and loaded with beneficial compounds. It’s truly a wonder food and not replaceable by formula.Colostrum is the ideal first milk and helps the newborn’s immature digestive tract develop. After the first few days, the natural source directly from the mother start producing larger amounts of milk as the baby’s stomach grows.
2. Mothers milk contains important antibodies
Breast milk is loaded with antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria, which is critical in those tender, early months.This particularly applies to colostrum, the first milk. Colostrum provides high amounts of immunoglobulin A (IgA), as well as several other antibodies. When you’re exposed to viruses or bacteria, you start producing antibodies that then go into the milk. It’s immunity. It protects the baby from getting sick by forming a protective layer in the baby’s nose, throat, and digestive systemTrusted Source. Formula doesn’t provide antibody protection for babies. Numerous studies show that babies who are not breastfed are more vulnerable to health issues like pneumonia, diarrhea, and infection.
3. Breastfeeding may reduce disease risk
Exclusive breastfeeding meaning that the infant receives only breast milk, is particularly beneficial.It may reduce your baby’s risk for many illnesses and diseases, including
- Middle ear infections- Breastfeeding, particularly exclusively and as long as possible, may protect against middle ear, throat, and sinus infections well beyond infancy.
- Respiratory tract infections- Breastfeeding can protect against multiple respiratory and gastrointestinal acute illnesses
- Colds and infections- Babies exclusively breastfed for 6 months may have a lower risk of getting serious colds and ear or throat infections
- Gut infections- Breastfeeding is linked with a reduction in gut infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding is linked to a reduced risk of SIDS, especially when breastfeeding exclusively.
- Allergic diseases-Breastfeeding is linked to a reduced risk of asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema.
- Bowel diseases- Babies who are breastfed may be less likely to develop Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.Diabetes. Breastfeeding is linked to a reduced riskTrusted of developing type 1 diabetes and non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes
4. Breast milk promotes baby’s healthy weight
Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity
One study showed that breastfeeding for longer than 4 months had a significant reduction in the chances of a baby developing overweight and obesity
This may be due to the development of different gut bacteria. Breastfed babies have higher amounts of beneficial gut bacteria which may affect fat storage
Babies fed breast milk also have more leptin in their systems than formula-fed babies. Leptin is a key hormone for regulating appetite and fat storage.Breastfed babies also self-regulate their milk intake. They’re better at eating only until they’ve satisfied their hunger, which helps them develop healthy eating patterns
5. Breastfeeding may make children smarter
Breastfeeding may help baby ace those tests. Some studies suggest there may be a difference in brain development between breastfed and formula-fed babies.
This difference may be due to the physical intimacy, touch, and eye contact associated with breastfeeding as well as nutrient content
Breastfeeding benefits for you
You may have heard this one often. While some women seem to gain weight during breastfeeding, others seem to effortlessly lose weight.Breastfeeding does burn more caloriesTrusted Source, and after 3 months of lactation, you’ll likely experience an increase in fat burning compared to non-lactating mothers. Though the difference isn’t significant.
6. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk for depression
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that can develop shortly after childbirth.
Women who breastfeed seem less likely to develop postpartum depression, compared to mothers who wean early or do not breastfeed, according to a 2012 studyTrusted Source.
However, those who experience postpartum depression early after delivery are also more likely to have trouble breastfeeding and do so for a shorter duration.
It saves time and money
To top the list, breastfeeding is mostly free, barring expenses for any lactation consulting and breast pumps. By choosing to breastfeed, you won’t have to:spend money on formulacalculate how much your baby needs to drink dailyspend time cleaning and sterilizing bottlesmix and warm up bottles in the middle of the night (or day)figure out ways to warm up bottles while on the goBreast milk is always at the right temperature and ready to drink
Note: The duration for breastfeeding a baby is till 24 months
Therefore this is a great opportunity to connect with your child. You should show a great amount of gratitude to your Creator, Almighty Allah Ta’laa for this avenue.