Breastfeeding is the natural way of pacifying an infant. Breast milk has optimal nutrients for babies. It provides water and food both to the baby. Breastfeeding should be practiced for 6 months exclusively as it has many benefits. It has the right amount of nutrients that are easily digested and readily available.
Many women do not breastfeed either because they are not able to or out of choice simply. Breastfeeding should be initiated within the first few hours after delivery because colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy is the perfect food for the newborn. Mothers who cannot feed or produce much milk starts with formula milk. And mothers who are working use a pump to express it out and store for the baby to have as and when they demand.
Benefits of breastfeeding for babies:
Breastfeeding is very beneficial for the baby in many ways. It has the ideal amount of nutrients and a perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fats; which is very important for the baby to grow. Formula milk is also good but does not have antibodies like breast milk which helps the child fight off viruses and bacteria. It lowers the risk of asthma and allergies. Babies who have been fed for more than 6 months exclusively are more likely to have fewer ear infections, respiratory problems, and loose motions. Whereas, babies who not been breastfed are more vulnerable to health issues like pneumonia, diarrhea, and infections. It reduces the risk of SIDs, allergic diseases like atopic dermatitis and eczema, inflammatory bowel diseases, diabetes, childhood leukemia. The good effects of breastfeeding seem to last throughout childhood and even in adulthood.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers:
Breastfeeding is beneficial for the mothers too as it is for the babies. Many women seem to gain weight whereas other women lose weight easily. When a woman breastfeeds their hormonal balance is different from normal and because of this, some women increase their appetite and some women decrease their appetite and lose weight. A woman who gains weight is more likely to produce more milk and are prone to express it out and store it. Breastfeeding also helps the uterus to contract and retain its original size. It encourages uterine contractions and reduces bleeding. Women who breastfeed generally have less blood loss after delivery. Breastfeeding also helps mothers in fighting postpartum depression. Breastfeeding has anti-anxiety effects that encourage bonding between mother and child and promotes nurturing and relaxation.
So, are you exclusively breastfeeding your baby?