Breastfeeding or nursing is the process through which a mother feeds her baby milk from her breasts. According to health professionals, breastfeeding must begin within the first hour of the life of a baby and must be continued till whenever the baby wants. During the initial weeks after birth, babies may need to nurse 8 to 12 times a day. It is a fact that there is nothing more nutritious and beneficial for babies than their mother’s milk as it contains many important elements. There are several benefits of breastfeeding that one must know of and the top 8 are given as follows.
- Stronger Bones: One of the most important health benefit of breastfeeding is that it enables the fed baby to have stronger bones. Babies who were breastfed in their initial months tend to have healthier bones as compared to others and the same is true for mothers. Breastfeeding mothers are at a lesser risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
- Healthier Baby: Breastfed babies are always at a lower risk of several diseases and infections including colds, pneumonia, viruses and others. Infect serious infections like diarhhea are also less common amongst babies who have been fed with mother’s milk.
- Boosts immunity and provides protection: Another main health benefit of breastfeeding is that mother’s milk can help boost the immunity in the baby and also provides long term protection. Not only does the milk benefit the baby while breastfeeding but also helps prevent many illnesses which are likely to develop in the later years of life such as cancers, diabetes and others.
- Boosts Intelligence: Breastfed babies are likely to be much intelligent than others. There is a direct link between breastfeeding and cognitive development and those babies who were breastfed during their initial months or years tend to have higher IQs as well.
- Breastfeeding protects from obesity: Breastfeeding is an amazing way to reduce the chances of your child suffering from obesity. This happens since breastfed babies are better at eating and develop healthier eating patterns. Moreover, breastmilk has less insulin than formula milk.
- Breastfeeding lowers risk of SIDS: Another important health benefit of breastfeeding is that this practice can help decrease the risk of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. According to researchers, if babies are breastfed exclusively during the first month, then this can cut down the risk of SIDS by half.
- Helps to develop a deeper bond between mother and baby: One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it can help develop a much better and deeper bond between mother and baby. When a mother feeds her child her own milk, then the baby gets a warm sense of security and the mother too feels more attached. This in turn helps to create a much better relationship between the two.
- Breastfeeding protects from developing allergies: One of the most important benefits of breastfeeding is that it can help protect your baby from developing allergies. What happens is that babies who are fed a formula that is based on cow’s milk or soy milk tend to have more allergic reactions as compared to breastfed babies. According to health researchers and scientists, immune factors like IgA which are present in just breastmilk can prevent babies from developing allergic reactions to food. They do so by providing a protective layer in the intestinal tract of the baby. If this protection is absent, the intestinal walls tend to become leaky. This leads to undigested proteins to cross over the gut and thus results in allergic reactions.