Women find that there are many advantages of breastfeeding their children, not only for them but also for their babies’ health. Even if nowadays there are many types of formula which come very close to providing the baby with almost the same nutrients and protection as the breast milk, they are still far from reaching the high quality and advantages of breastfeeding a baby. A woman who chooses to breastfeed her baby can count on many benefits, not only physical, but also psychological as she can rest assure to provide her newborn with all the nutrients he needs for a healthy growth.
A baby experiences advantages of breastfeeding since his very first nursing session. In fact, the first time a woman breastfeeds, right after delivery, her body produces a type of milk called colostrum. It is only a very small quantity of yellow-colored milk that is full of vitamins and nutrients that protect the baby from infections as he is so little and vulnerable. As the baby grows so does the mother’s milk production. Her milk will also change, becoming white, releasing more nutrients and allowing the baby to fully enjoy the advantages of breastfeeding.
Advantages of breastfeeding for the baby
The baby is indeed the main person who fully enjoys the advantages of breastfeeding. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that babies who are breastfed tend not to become as ill during the first year of life as babies who have are bottle-fed. The reason is because a woman’s body is able to produce all the necessary vitamins and nutrients that will protect her baby from getting sick. The list that follows shows some of the main advantages of breastfeeding that mother and baby can count on:
- Highly reduced risk that a breastfed baby might suffer from common problems that most bottle-fed babies experience such as respiratory problems, allergies, stomach viruses, ear infection.
- Babies who are bottle-fed, contrary to those who are breastfed, can develop problems to their intestine as formula milk does not provide them with the necessary protection against germs and viruses.
- Breastfed babies have much less chances of developing cancer during the course of their life, than babies who were formula-fed. Moreover, they are also more protected from getting diabetes type 1 and 2, as well as heart diseases and obesity
- Babies who are breastfed tend to have a higher IQ level than bottle-fed children.
Advantages to breastfeeding for the mother
Children are not the only ones who have a long list of advantages of breastfeeding. In fact, mother can also enjoy the benefits of such a special bond.
- Reduced risk of postpartum depression. Women who breastfeed tend to suffer less, if at all, from postpartum depression. This is due to the relaxed and stress-free atmosphere that nursing a child creates. Moreover, while breastfeeding a woman’s body releases endorphins, which are chemicals responsible for making a person feel happy.
- Women who nurse are also considered to be at low risk for getting cancer.
- Breastfeeding helps women to stay in shape as a woman burns around 500 more calories a day if she nurses.
Women who decide to nurse their children not only create an intense bond with their newborns but also share many advantages of breastfeeding that will enhance their life expectations and overall health.
The decision to breastfeed your child is something personal. Since it involves your body and someone who matters to you the most, it is your choice that will prevail in the end. Bear in mind that breast milk is considered the best nourishment you can provide for your baby. In addition, you can reap great rewards from breastfeeding. Let this article enlighten you about the many topics related to breastfeeding. Let’s start by debunking the different myths associated with this practice:
Myth no. 1: To maintain an adequate milk supply, a mother must only nurse her child four to six times in a day
The simple rule here is that the more often you breastfeed, the better the milk supply. This also means your baby will gain more weight and will get to enjoy your breastmilk for the months to come. You can even average of 9 times a day especially in your first few weeks of breastfeeding. The hormone prolactin is elevated after you wake up so maximize these times to breastfeed your little one.
Myth no. 2: The mother should schedule feeding times as to allow the breasts to refill milk
A nursing mother’s body is always in the zone to produce milk. The breasts serve as storage bins for this breastmilk. The milk production will slow down or speed up depending on the milk available in the breasts. The point is that you don’t need to wait for the breasts to be filled up again; you let your body do its job.
Myth no. 3: The hindmilk is more nutritious than the foremilk
To define these two terms, foremilk is the milk at the start of the feeding while the hindmilk comes at the end. Research shows hindmilk contains has more fat content that foremilk but the difference on the nutritional content between the two is not very significant. You don’t have to worry if your baby is getting more foremilk than hindmilk. It is as long as feeding times are regular, you will see that your baby will begin to gain a healthy amount of weight.
Myth no. 4: Nursing mothers should utilize both breasts during a single feeding schedule
This is not always the case. You can give only one boob to your child and let him or her maximize the milk contained in the ducts. If you feel that the baby is not sucking enough milk from one breast, that is the signal you offer the second boob. This can also help the baby practice proper latching onto your breast.
Myth no. 5: A mother who breastfeeds her child must also consume milk to increase the quality and quantity of her milk
A balanced diet composed of fruits, vegetable, proteins, and fibre is highly recommended for a nursing mother to be able to help the body produce breast milk. There is no exact evidence to support the claim that mammals need to drink milk in order to make milk or even increase the quality of her milk.
Myth no. 6: Scarcity of breast milk is due to the mother’s fatigue or stress
There is no exact explanation that connects poor milk supply to fatigue or even malnutrition. However, it is advisable for mothers to not stress themselves as they are still recovering from the delivery (or surgery, if the mother underwent cesarean section). The inadequate milk supply can be related to improper latch-on position of the baby to the mother’s breast.
Myth no. 7: Mothers who frequently carry and breastfeed their babies will have spoiled and obese children in the future
These claims are not true. Babies who are often held by their parents and family exhibit more self-esteem later in life. Moreover, breastfed babies have likely to have more control on their food intake (even as adults) since they know when they are full and when to detach themselves from the boob.
Myth no 8: Difficulty in breastfeeding can cause postpartum depression
Learning the proper breastfeeding positions and correct latching may take time and a new mom might struggle to comprehend all these things. However, these obstacles will not to postpartum depression. This disorder often occurs to women who have behavioral problems way before they got pregnant.
Myth no. 9: Breast milk loses its quality as time passes
False. The body has its way of changing the breast milk’s components to meet the needs of the baby as he or she grows up. When baby reaches six months and able to take solids, the human milk serves as a supplement to these solid food to boost more the child’s immune system.
Myth no. 10: Breastfeeding causes the breasts to sag
It depends. The weight gain and loss during as well as after pregnancy can cause the boobs to sag. While you’re pregnant, the hormones cause the stretch on the fat deposits on your bosom in preparation for the production of milk. After birth, your breasts will double in size as milk ducts are activated. But soon after, the breast will be back to their normal sizes once you get used to your breastfeeding routine.
Myth no. 11: Breastfeeding can be a form of contraception
It is not breastfeeding per se that is stopping you from getting pregnant. You can still get pregnant as soon as you get your period back and started having unprotected intercourse. Most women have lesser chance to conceive within the first six months after birth as their menstrual cycle has not returned to normal and they are busy nursing their children day and night.
Myth no. 12: Sick mothers cannot breastfeed their children
Simple sickness like cold or flu can actually offer added protection to your baby since the antibodies you are producing are passed on to you baby. This shield will keep your child from catching your cold. Breastfeeding while you are sick is harmless but be sure to address your illness as soon as possible.
Now that we have debunked the wrong perceptions about breastfeeding, let’s take a look at the advantages of nursing to both the mother and the baby:
- Breastfeeding promotes tighten the bond between the mother and the child.
- Since breast milk offers superb nutrition, breastfed babies will likely to develop strong resistance against illnesses, allergies, and infections.
- Breastfed babies have lower chance to be lactose intolerant and to experience stomach problems.
- Babies who are breastfed until they are two years of age are found to have properly developed jaws and teeth as well as minimal cavities.
- According to child psychologists, breastfed babies have higher IQs as they have better brain development during their formative years.
- Breastfeeding help mothers shed their pregnancy weight fast than mothers who choose to formula-feed their babies.
- The baby’s sucking motion makes the uterus to contract and reduces blood flow in the incision from a C-section.
- Breastfeeding is more economical and practical as mothers can save resources instead of buying pricey formula milks.
- Mothers who breastfeed have less chance to develop breast cancer.
- A mother and baby who are healthy do not need to spend money on different medications.
On the first week after giving birth to your baby, you will notice your breasts secrete a yellowish fluid called colostrum. This superfood is filled with protein that is essential to the baby’s brain development.
Overall, breast milk contains the perfect mix of the nutrients needed by your baby. The great thing is that these vitamins, fats, and proteins are made in a form that can be easily absorbed by a baby who have immature digestive system.
In case you have problems concerning breastfeeding, check first if they baby is properly latched on your breasts. This is where most breastfeeding problems are rooted. To practice a correct latch-on technique, cradle the baby on one side and make sure he or she is facing you. With your free hand, cup your breast and place your nipple near the baby’s upper lip. Wait for the child to recognize the nipple and let him or her get a mouthful of your areola. The baby is latched on properly when you hear small gulping sounds and your baby’s cheeks move as he or she swallows the breast milk.