Deciding to breastfeed your child is a personal decision, however, medical professionals and authorities recommend breastfeeding, according to WebMD. This is because breast milk is the best form of nutrition for your child. It offers several health advantages to both the mother and the baby. In order to gain the maximum benefit, start breastfeeding as soon your child is born and maintain it for six months.
Colostrum builds the baby’s immunity
The first 2-4 days of breastfeeding is important for your baby’s health because your breasts secrete colostrum. This is a yellow to orange coloured fluid that contains proteins that build your infant’s immune system, protecting them from various diseases like pneumonia, colds and viral infections. It has low levels of fat and high levels of carbohydrates, protein and antibodies. The colostrum also contains factors that help in gut maturation and aid digestion. It has a laxative effect, which also helps to excrete excess bilirubin, preventing jaundice.
Breastfeeding wards off diseases
Breast milk is nutritionally superior to artificial formula milk. It contains unsaturated, saturated fats and cholesterol, which is an essential component of nerve and brain tissue. The fat in breast milk is also easily digestible compared to formula. Breast milk contains the following proteins that protect the baby against food allergies, diarrhoea and infections:
- Milk Leukocytes
- Secretory IgA
- Bifidus Factor
These proteins destroy viruses and bacteria.
Better nutritional value
Breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of allergies and lactose-intolerance. It will also prevent the development of nappy rashes and thrush. Breastfed infants also tend to develop fewer cavities, as well as promote the development of the baby’s teeth and jaw. Breastfeeding is also important in promoting mother and baby bonding. Formula constitution cannot be made specific to your baby, whereas, breast milk is a personalised to your baby’s changing needs. Babies that drink breast milk also demonstrate better antibody response to vaccinations compared to babies that drink formula, according to fitpregnancy.com.
So, think through your decision carefully.