5 Benefits of Breastfeeding a Baby
Being a mother is, no doubt, one of the biggest blessings of life. A newborn brings endless joy to the parents and joyful giggles to an otherwise silent house. But this joy comes with a lot of responsibilities on the part of parents—particularly, mothers—including proper feeding of the baby. A healthy diet leads to a healthy body and healthy mind, and guarantees a strong and active daily life for your children. The early years of a child’s life play a vital role in his personality development and growth; therefore, it is crucial not to choose unhealthy products for your baby’s sustenance. Without a doubt, breastfeeding is the only healthy option for your baby’s proper nourishment.
Why should you breastfeed your baby?
It has always been a point of debate whether a baby should be breastfed or is baby formula a viable replacement. Since times old, it has been believed that breastfeeding brings numerous benefits to both the mother and the child. It is a biologically normal way of feeding a baby, so the benefits it brings go beyond the limits of feeding a baby via bottle. Being a nutritious substance, breast milk protects your child against diseases and gives him the nutrients essential for a healthy lifestyle. Below, we will look upon the benefits of breastfeeding your baby.
1- Improved immunity against diseases
Breast milk contains the right amount of essential nutrients—proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals—and antibodies which help your baby fight off bacteria and viruses. These nutrients improve and build up the undeveloped immune system of a baby in a way no other substance can rival, and contribute to the development of a healthy gut. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of allergies, obesity and type 1 and type 2 Diabetes in a child, and contributes to a lower risk of asthma or allergies. Moreover, a child who has been breastfed in the early years develops better response to vaccines. Therefore, doctors recommend breastfeeding the babies for at least first six months after birth.
2- Optimum brain development
A child needs to grow mentally as well as physically for him to have a healthy and successful life ahead. A child who is slow in learning finds himself in a lot more difficulties than other children of the same age. While it is true that factors like genes and innate talent play an important role in defining a child’s mental faculties, it is also true that proper nourishment plays a key role in this scenario. A physically weak child cannot use his mental abilities at their fullest, and is left far behind his peers in academic and intellectual growth. Breastfeeding ensures an improved cognitive development of your baby. The nutrients found in breast milk play a fundamental role in developing the neurological framework of the children and have been found to boost their IQ level. The brain cells of breastfed kids develop a lot faster than those who have been denied this vital nourishment, and consequently, such children display better results in cognitive development tests.
3- Optimal Oral development
Besides being helpful in a child’s mental development, breast milk is invaluable in the oral development of babies as well because of their enhanced jaw movements. When a child is breastfed from an early age, he develops a greater sense of taste and smell. What is more, the nutrients found in breast milk help reduce tooth decay and ensure the child’s proper dental development. Strong teeth enable the children to eat hard food in the later years without any pain or any other problem, and hence they develop strong secondary or permanent teeth. Also, breast milk is known to change its composition to suit your baby’s need as he grows old or becomes sick. This way, the child still gets benefits of all the nutrients even if s/he is suffering from some kind of illness.
4- Lower risk of infections
I already mentioned that breast milk improves the immune system of a child and helps him fight disease-causing bacteria and viruses. His body stays strong and healthy, and he has more chances of maintaining a healthy lifestyle even when he grows up, because his immune system is stronger. Infections are common in growing children—especially during the first six months after birth—and cause real trouble for babies and their mothers. While it is near impossible to stay 100 percent safe from infections, it has been observed that children who are breastfed experience lower risk of chronic infections including ear infections and respiratory tract infections, and certain other diseases like gastroenteritis, celiac disease and inflammation caused by body infections. They develop better immunity against microbes responsible for such infections, and are less likely to develop serious health problems.
5- Emotional development
Mothers and children have a strong bond with each other. While fathers are important, too, it has been observed that kids tend to relate more with their mothers and share every little detail and experience of their lives with them without any hesitation. It maybe because of the physical link they have with their mothers during their growth inside the mother’s’ womb or maybe it’s just an intuitive connection, but children are more comfortable with their mothers, divulging every little secret they have.
Breastfeeding strengthens this connection even more. Children intuitively feel a sense of security and thrive emotionally knowing in their hearts that their mother will always be there if the need arises. The skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the child builds a strong bond between the two and child feels secure and protected.
Breastfeeding, undoubtedly, is the best feeding option for babies. With its numerous benefits, breast milk ensures a healthy body and a strong mind for children. We believe that mothers should breastfeed their children and should not substitute this very important nourishment source with any unhealthy product available in the market.
I am a breastfeeding advocate, and there are a lot of advocacy programs and initiatives promoting the breastfeeding practice. UNICEF, WHO and National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy are some of the examples. They educate parents, hospitals and care takers about benefits of breastfeeding.
What is your opinion? Do you agree? If you have anything to say or add, feel free to comment below and let us know what you think.