Breastfeeding Health Facts & Benefits for Moms and Babies
By Jennifer Athey |
Breastfeeding Benefits For Babies
1. Perfect nutritional diet for babies
Breast milk contains all the right ingredients - protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water - in the ideal balance for infants. Its composition even changes according to the baby's changing needs, especially during the first-month post-birth. Babies fed breast milk also have more leptin in their systems than formula-fed babies. Leptin is a key hormone for regulating appetite and fat storage. Ensuring their baby gains the appropriate weight they need is one of the most significant factors for ensuring their health.
2. Lowers and prevents the risk of babies developing serious diseases
Breast milk contains antibodies that prevent your baby from being infected with harmful bacteria and viruses. It contains disease-fighting factors and digestive enzymes. It also lowers your baby's risk of having asthma or allergies as they grow older. Studies show that babies who were solely breastfed during their first 6 months have fewer ear infections, respiratory issues, and diarrhea problems. It's a natural probiotic. It supports a healthy microbiome in humans, which is the healthy bacteria found inside our bodies. Bodies need healthy bacteria to improve their overall immune systems.
Diseases Breastmilk Can Help Prevent:
Childhood leukemia and lymphoma
Certain types of meningitis
Middle ear and sinus infections
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Gastrointestinal infections and bowel diseases
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Type 1 diabetes
3. Improves brain development
Scientific sources indicate that breastfed babies have higher intelligence scores and are less likely to develop behavioral problems. It also shows they have less learning difficulties as they grow older. Not only do babies get all the nutrients they need, but the close intimacy and physical contact also improve and promote healthy brain development. Breast milk is also high in healthy cholesterol. Cholesterol encourages brain growth and provides necessary components of hormones and vitamin D.
Breastfeeding Benefits For Moms
4. Breastfeeding can reduce risks for diseases
Breastfeeding reduces the dangers of post-partum hemorrhage, pre-menopausal breast cancer, anemia, and ovarian cancer. It's also been shown to help reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis as well. Did you know breastfeeding burns calories, helping mom's lose those pounds they gained during pregnancy?
Diseases Breastfeeding Can Help Reduce the Risk of:
Hypertension / high blood pressure
5. Helps mothers feel emotionally better off
Breastfeeding produces the naturally soothing hormones "love hormone" oxytocin and prolactin that promote stress reduction and positive feelings. How does exactly does oxytocin help moms? Oxytocin especially helps mom's physicals and emotional well-being. It helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. It also helps mothers build that special emotional bond that no other relationship has.
6. Deepens the bond between mothers and their babies
Physical and emotional bonding between mother and child is increased. Breastfeeding promotes more skin-to-skin contact with more opportunities to hold and stroke their babies as they nurse. Experts feel that affectionate bonding during the first years of life helps reduces social and behavioral problems from developing later on in life in both children and adults. Breastfeeding mothers learn to read their infant's cues and supports babies to learn to trust caregivers.
- Technical updates of the guidelines on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). Evidence and recommendations for further adaptations. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2005.
- Evidence on the long-term effects of breastfeeding: systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2007.
- León-Cava N, et al. Quantifying the benefits of breastfeeding: a summary of the evidence. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization; 2002. [26 June 2008]. http://www.paho.org/English/AD/FCH/BOB-Main.htm.
- Kramer MS, Aboud F, Mironova E, et al. Breastfeeding and child cognitive development: new evidence from a large randomized trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(5):578-584. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.65.5.578
Love + miracles,