Every mom will agree that there is no better nourishment for her baby than breast milk. But, there is a lot more to breastfeeding than just feeding your baby. As we approach World Breast Feeding Week 2018, let us take a look at the many benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby.
Benefits of breastfeeding for baby
Breast-milk is loaded with nutrients that your baby needs in the growing and developing years. Breastfeeding your baby provides that following benefits:
- Better brain and neurological development: Breastfeeding helps the baby’s brain grow at the necessary pace as he or she gets older. Studies have also shown that neurons are healthier in children who have been breastfed, leading to reduced chances of neurological, psychological and behavioral disorders later on in life. Children who are breastfed have also shown a higher IQ in comparison to those who have not been breastfed.
- Higher immunity: Breast milk contains antibodies that effectively prevent common childhood health issues like influenza. It also helps the body fight more serious bacterial and viral conditions such as pneumonia and meningitis. The immunoglobulin in breast milk prevents allergies as well as autoimmune diseases.
- Healthier teeth: The sugars in breast milk do not harm the growing teeth of the baby. Studies reveal that babies who are fed at the breast have reduced chances of tooth decay and other dental issues.
- Reduced chances of obesity: Childhood obesity can be prevented with breastfeeding up to at least 6 months of age.
- Helps baby reach developmental milestones: Infants who have been breastfed have better physical and mental development and are therefore about to reach developmental milestones at the right age.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mom
Breastfeeding benefits, not just the baby but also the mother in many ways, such as:
- Faster recovery after delivery: Breastfeeding the baby releases oxytocin which helps the uterus recover faster, even if the baby was delivered through a C-section.
- Help lose pregnancy fat: Your body consumes a lot more calories to produce milk for the baby. So, the more you feed, the faster you are able to shed pregnancy weight.
- Reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer: Studies have revealed that the risk of these types of cancer reduces by half when women breastfeed for at least two years.
- Reduces cardiovascular diseases: The chances of hypertension, diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases are reduced when women breastfeed.
- Psychological benefits: Mothers who breastfeed have higher production of oxytocin that keeps them relaxed and helps fight postpartum stress. Mothers also experience a sense of gratification as they feel like they are forging a strong bond with their baby.
It is recommended that babies are breastfed for at least 6 months. However, there is no fixed time frame for this and you can wean your baby even at the age of two.