The Advantages Of Breastfeeding Your Newborn
I am sure that you are well aware that breastfeeding your baby is possible the best thing that you can do to give your new born baby the best possible chance of having a healthy infancy, and to give him or her as much protection as possible for the years to come.
Do you know that the benefits go way beyond the basic nutrition? In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of his or her life, your breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness, as well as the fact that breast feeding is good for your health as well.
Some of the most important benefits you and baby will get from breastfeeding include:
Breastfeeding your baby will help protect him/her from gastrointestinal trouble, respiratory problems and ear infections.
There have been a number of studies from all around the world have shown that diarrhea, lower respiratory illnesses, and ear infections happen occur far less in breast fed babies. Even if they do occur the severity is far less.
Researchers have also discovered that immune factors which are present in colostrum, which is the first milk your body will produce, may help guard your baby against invading germs by forming a protective layer on your baby’s mucous membranes in his intestines, nose, and throat.
- Breastfeeding can protect your baby from developing allergies
Several studies have found that breastfeeding for six months or more makes it less likely that your baby will go on to develop food or respiratory allergies.
Scientists believe the fatty acids and immune factors such as IgA in breast milk prevent allergic reactions by stopping large foreign proteins from getting into a baby’s system.
- Breastfeeding may boost your child’s intelligence
Several studies have found a possible connection between breastfeeding and higher IQs. Babies which have been breastfed for six months or more seem to have the most advantage.
Experts say that the emotional bonding which takes place during breastfeeding probably contributes to some of the increase, but that the fatty acids in breast milk may play the biggest role in a baby’s brain development.
- Breastfeeding may protect against obesity later in life
Experts believe that breastfeeding may affect later weight gain for several reasons: Breastfed babies tend to be better at regulating their feedings, which leads to healthier eating patterns as they grow.
Breast milk also contains less insulin than formula. Insulin of course stimulates the creation of fat. Breastfed babies will also have more of the protein hormone leptin in their system, which is a substance that researchers believe plays a role in regulating appetite and fat.
- Breastfeeding may protect your baby from childhood leukemia
Studies have shown that breastfeeding can lower a baby’s risk of developing both acute lymphoblastic and acute myeloid leukemia. Although scientists do not know exactly how breast milk reduces the risk of these childhood cancers, but they do think antibodies in breast milk may give a baby’s immune system a boost. Research into this statement is currently still ongoing.
- Breastfeeding may protect your baby from developing type 1 diabetes
Breastfeeding for more than six months appears to also reduce a child’s risk of developing insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes. In one study, children who were breastfed for less than three months and exposed to cows’ milk before 4 months had about 1.5 times the risk of developing the disease.
- Breastfeeding may protect preemies from infections and high blood pressure later in life
Breast milk seems to offer a special protection for premature babies. One study found that very low-birthweight babies nourished by breast milk had fewer serious blood infections and meningitis than those given formula.
- Breastfeeding helps you lose weight
Nursing your baby can help you shed pounds more quickly, especially during the first year. This is because your body burns calories while it makes breast milk.
- Breastfeeding can lower your stress levels and reduce postpartum bleeding
Because nursing triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin in your body, you’re more likely to feel relaxed while breastfeeding. Numerous studies in animals and humans have found that oxytocin promotes nurturing and relaxation.
- Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of some types of cancer
Numerous studies have found that the longer women breastfeed, the more they’re protected against breast and ovarian cancer. For breast cancer, nursing for at least a year appears to have the most protective effect. It’s not entirely clear how breastfeeding helps, but structural changes in breast tissue caused by breastfeeding and the fact that lactation suppresses the amount of estrogen your body produces may play roles.
- Breastfeeding may protect against osteoporosis later in life
There’s conflicting evidence about the connection between breastfeeding and bone density. It’s apparent that lactating women do lose some bone density when they start breastfeeding, probably due to a calcium deficiency or low estrogen, but those losses are recovered during or after weaning. Two studies show that breastfeeding may actually improve a woman’s bone density in the long run and reduce the risk of hip fractures in old age.
If you are going to breastfeed then you should read our article on Breastfeeding Tips