Benefits of Breastfeeding

People already know that breast milk is best for infants. This milk contains all the necessary nutrients an infant needs during the first six months of his or her life. However, its offered benefits go beyond than supplying nutrition for a newborn because it also contains immunity-boosting substances that protect infants from various diseases.

Considering these facts, the American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommend feeding infants with breast milk alone. Health benefits you and your baby gain from breastfeeding are remarkable. Here are several benefits that both you and your infant will enjoy in the process.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother

Benefits

Description

Physical well-being

Research shows the link between breastfeeding and improved health among mothers. Mothers experience physical and emotional growth with the bond formed by breastfeeding.

Aside from improved physical well-being, the biological process working behind milk production and delivery process support health improvements among moms.

Oxytocin release and uterine recovery

Breastfeeding promotes oxytocin production and release that aids uterus in restoring its average size faster. Oxytocin is one of the hormones produced in the body as active components in other biological processes.

Weight loss

Weight loss is another benefit harvested through breastfeeding. Lactation boosts metabolic processes and studies showed that you can burn quite an amount of calories as your body produce milk. Although weight gain is inevitable during pregnancy, your body will shed it off by converting it to energy and consumed for lactation.

Bone health

Breastfeeding can also decrease your risk of having osteoporosis, although this might sound contradicting to other researches. Several resources cited that bone-mineral reduction occurs during breastfeeding. However, other researches also stated that this lost minerals are replaced in boosted amounts while lactating.

Birth control

Breastfeeding also works as natural birth control method as soon as you start nursing your baby. Research indicates that this natural process has 98 percent affectivity, which is more than what commercial products like condoms or diaphragms offer. Its effectiveness prompted scientists to claim that breastfeeding is perhaps the best way to control birth rates across the globe even after combining all the commercial and surgical contraception methods available.

Protection against cancer

In other studies, lactating women for at least two years show decreased risk of developing breast cancer. In addition to breast cancer, studies show that breastfeeding mothers have decreased chances of having ovarian, endometrial and uterine cancer.

Benefits for diabetic women

Women suffering from diabetes also improve their condition significantly through breastfeeding. Mothers’ post-birth insulin requirement drops down while infants are also protected from developing juvenile diabetes.

Fighting Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is common among many new mothers. The National Institutes of Health analyzed thousands of abstracts and found out that mothers that don’t breastfeed or stopped breastfeeding have higher risk in developing this problem. The good thing about breastfeeding is that mothers undergoing postpartum depression treatment can still breastfeed for added benefits.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby

1. Immune from Illnesses

Infants may experience several illnesses several months after the birth and until they age. Common illnesses include lower respiratory illness, meningitis, stomach viruses and many more. Feeding your baby with breast milk only for six months will keep parents from worrying in case aforementioned symptoms show on their kids.

Secretory immunoglobin A (IgaA) is the main component in colostrum. It serves as infant’s line of defense from these illnesses that make parents worried sick.

2. Protection Against Allergies

Allergic reactions are also common among infants, especially if they had dairy milk or soy milk as major diet. However, babies who had breast milk are less likely to develop allergic reactions to numerous stimulants.

Experts link this boosted immune system with secretory IgA. This component is known to form a lining along the intestinal wall to protect it from potential reactions and avoiding inflammation. Inflammation causes the intestinal wall to be leaky, which causes undigested protein to induce allergic reactions once they passed down the digestive system.

Unlike breastfed infants, kids who are fed with commercially available milk don’t have such protection in their digestive system, making them vulnerable to these allergy problems.

3. Intelligence Improvement

Studies show a link between cognitive development and breastfeeding. A research with 17,000 infants was conducted wherein they were monitored from birth up to 6 years. The children were subjected to IQ testing and results showed that children who were fed with breast milk alone in infancy have significant cognitive improvement.

A similar study comprising of around 4,000 children highlighted that children who were fed with breast milk alone has remarkable top scores on vocabulary testing at the age of 5 years old compared to those children who did not have breast milk on their diet. One of the cited factors that resulted to better brain power and activity is the bond formed through breastfeeding. However, fatty acids found in the milk are known the primary factor that boosts intelligence level.

4. Fighting Obesity

Obesity among children is starting to be very common these days. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding can promote weight loss among children, which will keep them from being obese. Babies who are breastfed show better hunger suppression and results to taking in healthier eating pattern. Higher leptin production, which is helpful in regulating fat and appetite, is also noticed among infants who were breastfed.

5. Reducing Risk of SIDS

SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome scares quite a lot of parents. Nevertheless, several studies like the German study in 2009 showed that breastfeeding decreases the risk of SIDS. This result is observable even if the infant had exclusive breast milk diet or even if partially.

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