The method you are going to use to feed your baby is the first major decision that you are going to make as a mother after giving birth. You have to choose between breastfeeding and formula feeding your baby. You do not have to wait until the baby is born to make this decision.
Breast milk provides the most essential nutrients that a baby needs. There are health benefits that both the mother and the baby can derive from breastfeeding. When breastfeeding, it is imperative that you get the Vitamin D supplement.
Majority of women can breastfeed. It is very rare to find any mother who is physically not able to breastfeed her little one. The sizes of the breasts (whether small or large) and the shape of your nipples (straight or inverted) should not prevent you from availing the right nutrients to your baby.
Even those of you who are fortunate to have twins, your body should be in a position to make enough milk for you babies.
Mothers are advised to feed their babies on breast milk only for the first six months. This is because the entire nutrients needed by a baby during this time are only available in breast milk.
For new mothers, the art of breastfeeding can take sometimes to learn. Just practice breastfeeding your baby, and within a short period of time, you will get the hang of it.
There are so many reasons why mothers are advised to breastfeed their babies that this article intends to explore and expound on. Do not let your newborn miss out on essential nutrients that she can only get during the first 26 weeks of life.
Benefits of Breastfeeding the Baby
Breast milk is always referred to as the “perfect recipe”, providing all that a growing baby needs. This is unlike milk formula that is just glorified cow milk. A breastfed baby does not require any fluids.
When you would be away from you baby for some time, you can as well pump and store some breast milk to be given to the baby when she needs it. You simply need to buy a baby bottle and a means of sterilising the bottles before feeding your baby.
Let us now examine some of the benefits a baby would derive from breast milk.
To the Baby
1. Reduced Risk of Infections
There are fewer occurrences of infections in breastfed babies than formula fed ones. The reason is that the antibodies from the mother are transferred through the milk to the baby’s system. These antibodies are the ones that fight infections, boosting the baby’s immune system. They experience fewer cases of diarrhoea, chest problems, vomiting and ear infections.
2. Development of Emotional Bonds
Research carried out in babies who are bottle fed, and those who are breastfed reveals that the breastfed babies have higher intelligence than the formula fed ones.
During the process of breastfeeding, there is a special bond that develops between the mother and the baby from the constant cuddling and body contact. The baby feels more secure, warm and safe. These all contribute to proper emotional development.
3. Readily Available
Breast milk is safe, is at the right temperature, is always fresh and is available to the baby when needed (unless you are separated from your baby for a while). The complications of boiling the milk first or sterilising it are all eliminated.
When you travel with your baby, you do not have to carry along lots of equipment to facilitate baby feeding. The milk is always with you, right? Unnecessary expenses of investing in an electric baby bottle steriliser are a thing of the past saving you money in the process.
4. Breast Milk is more Digestible
When compared to formula, babies tend to digest breast milk than formula, a product of animal milk. The enzymes in human milk aid in this digestion process. It has also been found out that human milk develops softer curds in the stomach which are readily assimilated by the baby’s body.
Most of the proteins in the formula are ejected from the baby’s body as waste.
To the Mother
1. Health advantages
Some studies have indicated that breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother too. On average, some health complications are more likely to occur in women who have never breastfed than those who do.
These health problems include:
1: Breast cancer
2: Ovarian cancer
3: Diabetes type 2
4: Postnatal depression
2. Prevents post-partum Haemorrhage
When you breastfeed your baby, the body releases oxytocin, which stimulates contractions. This causes the uterus to shrink to a pre-pregnancy state, as the placenta is expelled out. The contractions shut off blood vessels that were feeding the baby; this prevents blood losses.
Mothers who bottle feed their babies have to be provided with synthetic oxytocin to prevent haemorrhage.
3. Weight Loss
There are calories used to produce milk, reducing the amounts in the body. More fats are then burnt to replenish the supply of calories. This helps mothers to maintain a recommended body weight naturally. This is not the same case with mothers who do not breastfeed their babies; they have to look for alternative ways to reduce their body weight.
Breastfeeding is very essential to you and your baby. WHO, UNICEF and other various governmental organisations advise that babies be purely breastfed for their first 26 weeks. However, some conditions might force a mother not to breastfeed her baby.
These conditions include when the baby has been diagnosed with galactosemia, when the mother is infected with HIV and AIDS, when the mother has Active Tuberculosis that is yet to be treated, if you are using and dependent on illicit drugs and when the mother is undergoing radiation therapy.
Apart from these exceptions, every mother out there is encouraged to breastfeed their newborn for a healthy kid.