Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift that nature gave to women. A gift both for the child and for mother themselves. It is, therefore, important to breastfeed as long as possible. Explore the benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is the best gift you can give your child at birth. This is the healthiest and most valuable form of feeding newborns and infants.
Apart from satisfying baby's hunger, human milk also supports his immature immune system. It contains antibodies, immune cells and other immunologically active components. Early milk, called colostrum, is particularly rich in antibodies. Even a few drops of colostrum, often neglected by first time mothers as insignificant, are important as they protect your child against microorganisms from the environment.
Breast milk protects the child's digestive system and regulates its function, it helps the body to quickly remove any impurities and facilitates passing by meconium (first stool). Thanks to stimulated peristalsis bilirubin contained in newborn's stool does not accumulate in the bowels, and the risk of neonatal jaundice is reduced.
Mum's milk contains easily digestible and non-allergenic proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates affecting the nervous system development, vitamins, easily absorbable minerals, enzymes, growth factors, hormones, and large amount of pure water. Therefore, breast-fed babies do not need any extra drinks. Proportions of those components are perfectly adjusted to baby's nutritional needs.
Natural milk proteins are easily digested and do not remain in baby's stomach. Therefore, the breast-fed babies demand to be fed more frequently. Moreover, they adjust the amount of milk to their needs, so it is difficult to overfeed them. Human milk is quickly digested, and diarrhea and constipation are less often in breastfed babies than in the formula fed ones.
Natural milk composition changes depending on the baby's needs and developmental stage. During feeding the child first needs to quench his thirst, and then to satisfy hunger. Therefore, the early milk contains more water, and then it becomes thicker and more nourishing. The most nourishing milk is produced at night. Milk composition changes along with baby's age. It is different in the neonatal and infancy period.
Breastfed babies are less likely to develop SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and digestive and respiratory tract diseases (especially pneumonia). According to WHO data, breastfeeding reduces the risk of future type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. Adults breastfed in infancy have lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, and are less likely to suffer from overweight and obesity.
Human milk does not contain highly allergenic lactoglobulin, present in cow's milk. It ensures proper development of the immune system, and protects the intestinal wall against adverse influence of allergens.
During breastfeeding the baby can feel his mum's smell, and hear her heart beating. Long early breastfeeding sessions in warm mother's arms satisfy the need for closeness and soothe emotions.
Breast suckling engages over 40 individual muscles (including tongue, lips, jaw, cheeks). It stimulates the respiratory system development and increases oxygen supply. It is also a very important factor in the oral cavity development.
Breastfeeding increases the level of oxytocin, responsible for both milk flow and quicker uterus shrinking. This reduces the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
Breastfeeding women lessen their chances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Women who nurse their babies for more than a year are at lower risk of hypertension, heart attack, obesity, atherosclerosis and diabetes.
Hormones responsible for lactation improve mother's mood, and the breastfeeding women are better at coping with depressed mood that appears a few days after birth. As a consequence they are less likely to develop depression later on.
Avoiding fried foods, chocolate, carbonated drinks, alcohol and coffee is a basic principle of a nursing mother's diet. Breastfeeding mothers are more concerned with proper content of unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins in their food.
Breastfeeding is quite an effort for the body, and therefore during pregnancy it accumulates the fatty tissue necessary during lactation. After the birth of your baby exclusive breastfeeding helps quickly loose the extra pounds. Breastfeeding a baby takes up even up to 700 extra calories per day.
You can always quickly feed your baby anywhere. There is no need to waste time to prepare a formula and to keep all the feeding accessories clean. This precious food, i.e. the human milk, is not only easy to produce, but it is also more economical. You will only need breast pads and a well suited nursing bra.
Breastfeeding involves long, very pleasant sessions of cuddling. This allows not only to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but also to quickly establish a deep, emotional bond with the baby.
To achieve successful beginnings of breastfeeding, you will need self-confidence, patience, support from the loved ones and getting acquainted with a handful of tips that will allay fears and doubts.
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