Have you heard that breast-feeding provides superb advantage for both a breastfeeding mother and her baby? Well hear it now! Not only can an infant benefit from the milk of his or her mother, but the feeding itself can function as stepping stones to the mother’s health maintenance as well.
Breastfeeding is packed with needed Nutrients for Babies
A mother’s milk is nature’s way of telling us that the best things in life are free. The mother’s milk is one such free gift. Breast milk is made up of lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat that are easily digested by a newborn’s immature system. Breast milk is imbued with essential nutrients such as Lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is the source of iron for breast-fed infants and it has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immuno-modulatory activities. Another friendly benefit of the mother’s milk is that it has the chemical lipases, which aids in metabolism of fats. It also provides important hormones that assist in the growth and advancement of the infant. The mother’s milk is also significant in its preparation of the baby’s taste buds. Because the mother eats various meals, her milk will have different tastes at any given time. The nursing baby gets adapted to these varied tastes and is more likely to grow up having no picky habit with food. There is no comparison of the mother’s milk to commercial formulas. Research has shown great benefits in the immunity to certain diseases, of the breast-fed child to the non-breast fed ones.
How A Baby’s Immunity is Influenced by the Mother’s Milk
Perhaps the most important of all benefit of breast milk is the protection from various childhood illnesses. The mother’s milk is filled with antibodies that defend the baby from intestinal and breathing problems. Antibodies passed from a nursing mother to her baby can help lower the occurrence of many conditions such as ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory infections, and meningitis. Other factors help to protect a breast-fed baby from infection by contributing to the infant’s immune system. Nutrients from the milk increase the barriers to infection and decrease the growth of bacterial and viral organisms.
The benefits of breastfeeding include protection of the baby from many bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract, and Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder that leads to the mal-absorption of nutrients in the blood. Some studies have shown that the longer a person was breastfed, the later the symptoms of celiac disease appear if any. All these diseases are very common among babies fed on formula milk. Studies have also shown that when babies are switched over from formula to human milk, immediate improvements are visible.
The growth pattern of breastfed infants is different from formula-fed babies. The breast-fed babies have a faster growth in the beginning and then by the end of their first year, their growth decreases. On the other hand, the formula-fed babies display steady growth. However, the formula-fed babies are also more likely to have problems with obesity as grown adults.
Breastfeeding does not only give physical benefit to the child, but it also fosters the intellectual development of the child. The milk has DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) the most abundant form of omega-3 fatty acid in the human breast milk. Omega-3 fatty acid is necessary for optimal neural development and visual acuity. It is also essential for proper functioning of our brains as adults, and for our nervous system development in the first six months of life. In addition, breastfed babies spend a lot of time in the “quiet alert” state, which sets the stage for their development and learning. So feeding babies with the mother’s milk is a good way to head-start your child’s development the right way.
Mother’s Healthy Weight
Breastfeeding is not only good for the baby, but the mother. Most women who breastfeed see a tremendous advantage it has on their weight maintenance. When a woman is breastfeeding, she cannot be on diet that can potentially affect the child’s health. Fortunately, she does not need to be on any diet. She just needs to consume natural level of calories appropriate for her health and that of the baby. Since the baby eats from the mother, a lot of the fat that would have been stored in the mother body would be passed onto her baby. The woman who maintains a healthy way of eating and exercising witnesses a great deal of weight control when coupled with breastfeeding her baby.
Breastfeeding in one sure way for a mother and her baby to stay connected and bonded. The close, skin-to-skin connection allows for intimacy between the mother and the child. Having this nurturing time prepares the child for proper emotional ties with people important in his or her life.
For babies whose mothers cannot produce ample human milk, it is suggested that they get donors or people who offer their own milk. This shows how important the human milk is for the baby. Given the mysteries of the universe, of the way a man and a woman unite to make a baby, and the way a woman’s body goes from providing sexual pleasure for her and her partner to being a nurturing thing that carries and gives birth to a baby is enough reason to consider the natural benefit. The woman’s body is made to provide for the needs of her baby at least in the first few months of birth. It would be a shame not to utilize the gift that has been given to us freely.