Breastfeeding, one of the best gift from a mother to her beloved Child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that “infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding while introducing appropriate complementary foods for 1 year or longer.”
10 Amazing benefits of Breast Feeding
The WHO also suggests the same thing with “appropriate complementary foods
up to 2 years of age or older.”
Even after such recommendations it is sad that half the infants are unable to meet their nutritive demand.
Only 40% of the mother breastfeed their baby after 6 to 8 weeks, while the percentage decrease to 29% after 6 months, 21% after 12 months and only 10% of the mother breast feed their baby after 24 months.
World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration which is held every year in first week of August (1-7th Aug in 2022) in more than 120 countries to raise awareness and galvanize action on themes related to breastfeeding.
The baby must be fed breast milk for the first six months of life exclusively. Since the content of breast milk is amazing, 80% water, 7% lactose, 3.8% fat, 1% protein, 0.2%Vitamin C & carotene, rest of nutrients and vitamins like A, D, C, E, B1, B2, B6, B12, biotin, Folic acid.
This is sufficient for the Infant’s nutritive demand and hence Water, honey, etc. should be strictly avoided in the first 6 months.
15 Benefits of Breastfeeding the Baby
Breast-milk is the perfect mix of all the nutrients and is the best food for
a baby. The following are some of the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby.
- Easily digested since it is a natural food design for your baby.
- Protects against heart disease, several studies suggest a protective effect of breastfeeding on certain cardiovascular risk factors, such as atherosclerosis, blood pressure and cholesterol profile along with other risk factors.
- The risk of asthma or allergies is lowered, during the early days of breastfeeding human milk contains Colostrum, which helps protect the infants gut from potential allergens and foreign bodies that contribute to allergy, plus exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months reduces the exposure to potential food allergens.
- Lower ear infections (otitis media), respiratory tract infections, and gut infections (gastroenteritis).
- It reduces the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Infants who are breastfed may have up to 60% less chances of dying from SIDS than infants who are not breastfed.
- 20% reduction in the risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia.
- Better vision, less retinopathy due to prematurity.
- Lower infant mortality rate (IMR)
- Improves brain development, study suggest that breastfeeding is linked with improved cognitive development, the effects appear to be strongest with exclusion and prolonged breastfeeding.
- Has optimal oral development because of their movement and nutrients in the breast milk decreases the risk of tooth decay (dental caries).
- Promotes healthy weight management, lower the risk of obesity. The risk of overweight in children may be reduced by 4% for every month an Infant is breast fed up to the nine months of age, this benefit may continue through the infant’s teen and adult year.
- Protects the babies by providing stronger immune system, human milk contains maternal antibodies that are passed from the mother to the baby, substances that weaken or destroy harmful bacteria, compounds that help generate antibodies and factors that promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the Infant gut and hands.
- Breastfed infants are 30%less likely to have type 1 diabetes, as compared to the formula fed infants.
- Brings a connection between the mother and the baby through skin-to-skin contact and thereby satisfies baby’s emotional needs.
- Fewer cases of bacterial meningitis, reduced in incidence of overall illness and hence less hospitalization.
10 Amazing Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother
Breastfeeding not only helps the baby but also is very helpful to the new mothers.
- Enables quick weight loss after childbirth.
- Regulates the uterus to come back to the normal size.
- Lower postpartum depression.
- Reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
- Ceases ovulation and menstruation, hence act as contraceptives.
- Lowers the risk of Osteoporosis, 50% are protected from Rheumatoid arthritis.
- 10% are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases where as 11% are less likely to develop hypertension.
- Reduces the risk of Type II diabetes.
- Promotes a positive vibe and helps in bonding with the baby.
- Saves money from buying formula feed.
In order to avail this benefits it is crucial to latch the baby properly in a
What to eat when breastfeeding.
Drink plenty of fluids, proteins in the form of eggs & lean meat,
legumes, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, seasonal fruits, low-fat dairy
Foods which are found to increase the breast milk are oatmeal, Barley,
chickpea, brown rice, Basil, spinach, carrots, garlic, Salmon, asparagus, Dill
leaves, seeds, fennel, apricots and Almonds.
Sugary food, spices, citrus fruits, caffeine, processed foods, peppermint,
parsley, chamomile, alcohol, smoking, and drugs, should be avoided while
If you or a member of your family have a food allergy it is worth being
careful about your diet and avoiding the known Allergens.
If your baby develops Rash after breastfeeding, or if you face difficulty or
pain in breastfeeding, consult your doctor.
Different Positions for Breastfeeding
There are different positions for breastfeeding. Choose the correct position
that suits you best from the cradle, football, side-lying, cross-cradle hold,
and laid-back ones.
Happy breast feeding.
Reference: pediatrics aappublications