You are probably already aware that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your newborn baby. Here are few reasons why breastfeeding is so beneficial for the long-term health of your baby and also has benefits for you.
Benefits to the Child
- Suckling strengthens your baby’s jaws and aids in their transition from milk to solids. It also aids in their speaking, putting breastfed babies at an advantage.
- Breast milk is healthier than formula milk. Colostrum - the first type of milk produced by the breast- is packed with rich nutrients, protein and antibodies, acting as a boost for the baby’s underdeveloped immune system. Antibodies, which formula milk is void of, offer protection from infections.
- Breast milk is higher in vitamin D and E and research has shown that breast milk is two and a half times more effective in preventing rickets in young children.
- Breast milk contains more minerals; some of these are not found in formula milk, such as selenium and chromium. Selenium is an essential immune booster, whilst chromium helps maintain a balance in the blood sugar levels. Minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and manganese from breast milk are more absorbable than those in formula milk.
- Unlike formula milk, breast milk helps to establish healthy gut bacteria such as Bifido. These bacteria safeguard the baby’s digestive tract from harmful invading bacteria and inhibit the development of colic and eczema. The lining of a newborn’s gut is particularly vulnerable to damage as it has never been exposed to food or drink, which is why breastfeeding in the first few days is so beneficial.
- Obesity is less common in breast-fed babies compared to their formula fed counterparts.
- Breast milk makes brainier babies! Higher levels of the fat DHA, essential in developing the brain, are found in breast milk. Research has shown breastfed babies score 6-10 points higher in IQ tests than their formula fed counterparts.
Benefits to the Mother
- It’s convenient and cheaper to breastfeed.
- It helps you to lose that extra baby weight a lot quicker; suckling produces oxytocin, which causes the womb to contract to its pre-birth size.
- The risk of breast cancer is reduced, which is further reduced for every child that is breastfed and the longer the period of breastfeeding.