Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mom and Baby

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, recommend that babies be exclusively...

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding should be continued for at least 12 months. Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat. It contains antibodies that help the baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of having allergies. Some women fear that breastfeeding will ruin the appearance of their breasts. But most breast surgeons say that age, gravity, genetics, and lifestyle factors like smoking change the shape of a woman's breasts more than breastfeeding does. So today we will talk about some benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mom and Baby

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Baby

A Healthy Baby: The main immune factor at work here is a substance called secretory immunoglobulin 'A' that's present in large amounts in colostrum, the first milk your body produces for your baby. Colostrum also helps your newborn infant's digestive system to grow and function. Your baby gets only a small amount of colostrum at each feeding because the stomach of a newborn infant is tiny and can hold only a small amount. The substance guards against germs by forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes in your baby's intestines, nose, and throat. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections.

Long-Term Protection: Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions, such as type I and type 2 diabetes, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, high cholesterol, and inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers have documented a link between lack of breastfeeding and later development of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Lower SIDS Risk: Between two and six months of age, which, is the peak period of SIDS risk, a baby's immunity is lowest and the vulnerability to infection is highest. Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding cuts the risk of SIDS in half.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Baby

Less Risk Of Cancer: Breastfeeding can decrease your baby's risk of cancer. Evidence shows that it can help prevent your child from being overweight or obese later in life. Being obese puts a person at risk for many cancers. This includes pancreatic, breast endometrial, esophageal, rectal and kidney cancers.

Higher IQ: There is a connection between breastfeeding and cognitive development. Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. In a study of more than 17,000 infants followed from birth to 6 1/2 years, researchers concluded from IQ scores and other intelligence tests that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding significantly improves cognitive development.

Emotional Needs: All babies need to be held. Studies have shown that premature babies are more likely to die if they are not held or stroked. There is no more comforting feeling for an infant of any age than being held close and cuddled while breastfeeding. The skin-to-skin touching and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure. Breastfeeding has a calming effect on a baby.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Mom

Burns Calories: Breast milk contains 20 calories per ounce. If you feed your baby 20 ounces a day, that's 400 calories that you have burnt in one day.

Reduces Cancer Risk: Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer as it lowers the levels of some cancer-related hormones in the mother's body. Breastfeeding also can help lower your ovarian cancer risk by preventing ovulation. And the less you ovulate, the less exposure to oestrogen and abnormal cells that could become cancer.

Better Healing After Delivery: The oxytocin released when your baby nurses help your uterus contract, reducing post-delivery blood loss. Plus, breastfeeding will help your uterus return to its normal size more quickly—at about six weeks postpartum, compared with 10 weeks if you don't breastfeed. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mom

Cost: Human milk is much less expensive than formula. According to La Leche League International, the cost of formula can range anywhere from $134 (8,946 INR) to $491 (32,781 INR) per month. That's $1,608 (1 lakhs) to $5,892 (3 lakhs) in one year.

Better Bonding: Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother's body. It is now well established that oxytocin, as well as stimulating uterine contractions and milk ejection, promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and offspring. Most mothers put the feeling of maternal fulfillment at the top of their list of reasons for breastfeeding. 

Natural Birth Control: Breastfeeding can be 98 percent to 99 percent effective as a post-baby birth control option if a few guidelines are followed: Your period must not have resumed; you must breastfeed at least every four hours around the clock.

However, there are certain situations in which you should completely avoid breastfeeding, such as:
  • If you are HIV positive, you can pass the HIV virus to your infant through breast milk.
  • If you have active tuberculosis.
  • If you're receiving chemotherapy for cancer.
  • If you are using drugs, such as cocaine or marijuana.
  • If you are taking certain medications, such as medicines for headaches, Parkinson's disease, or arthritis.
Breastfeeding is a natural process, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's easy. Don't hesitate to contact your doctor or a certified lactation consultant if you need help.

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