Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mother And Baby

IN THIS ARTICLE

For a newborn, the mother’s milk is the first source of food and nutrition. Mothers’ milk contains bioactive molecules that are essential for the development of the brain and immune system of newborns (1). In addition to providing nutrition, breastfeeding also ensures bonding between the mother and child. The mother is the only source of nutrition as well as love for a newborn baby. For mothers, breastfeeding is linked with numerous health benefits as well. Breastfeeding, as such, plays a key role in the health and wellness of both the mother and child.

Though it’s common knowledge that breastfeeding is important, often we don’t know the extent of its importance. In the lack of knowledge, people might downplay the importance of breastfeeding. In certain cases, parents might also opt for formulas instead of the mother’s milk. It’s about time we dig deep and get to know how important breastfeeding is. Let’s get some insight and learn how breastfeeding is beneficial and why everyone suggests it as the first choice:

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Baby

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It is believed that breast milk is the most nutritious food on the planet for your little baby. Doctors also recommend that you feed your baby for the first six months of their life, only after which you can consider baby formula or a combination of both (2). Let’s now see why breastfeeding is good for your little one:

1. Great For Immunity

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The versatility of breastmilk cannot be matched with any other alternative. Its initial composition of water and protein safeguards the baby from mild infections and boosts immunity. Breast milk contains antibodies that play a significant role in preventing infections. During your baby’s developmental stages, immunity is low, so breast milk is essential for the protection of your child (3).

2. Much-Needed For Premature Infants

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Premature babies need extra care as they are more sensitive and easily prone to fatal conditions, thus needing more strength. Your milk is full of protein, enzymes, and antibodies that support easy digestion and the formation of strong gastrointestinal tracts. It is designed to meet the requirements of a premature baby and address the various complications that your baby may face (4).

3. Lower Risk Of SIDs

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Babies who are fed breast milk are on the lower side of SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). In a study conducted by medical research professionals, it was observed that breastfeeding could reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (5). This calls for everyone to take the breastfeeding duty seriously.

4. Lowers The Risk Of Obesity

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Proper and timely breastfeeding provides the right nutrition for your baby up to six months of age. Mother’s milk is nutritious and easy to digest for infants. Breastfed infants also are observed to have a better ability to regulate their own intake of food. When breastfeeding, both mothers, as well as their babies, instinctively know when to stop resulting in keeping a check on obesity However, the same can’t be said for formulas and solid food. The risk of obesity is higher when solid food and formulas are introduced to babies too early (6).

5. Boosts Cognitive Function

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Though the short-term benefits of breastfeeding are well known, we don’t really consider the long-term effects. Research has shown that kids who have been breastfed in their infancy develop better IQ and other cognitive abilities when they grow up (7). This is primarily due to the fact that breast milk contains all the necessary fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, all of which can help boost brain function and cognition. Regular and timely breastfeeding is like investing in your child’s future and parents should consider this a long-term priority as well.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Mother

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Now that you know how great breastfeeding is for your child, let’s look at some of the benefits of breastfeeding that you can enjoy:

1. Regulating Weight Gain

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Worried about all those pounds you gained when pregnant? Breastfeeding could be one of the solutions to pregnancy weight loss, the healthy way! Surprisingly, you tend to burn calories when you breastfeed. Mothers who breastfed, particularly in the first six months, were shown to display more weight loss as opposed to mothers who didn’t breastfeed their children (8).

2. Helps Prevent Diseases

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Breastfeeding is linked to the prevention of diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Researchers have found that women who breastfed soon after childbirth were at a lower risk of suffering from these diseases (9), (10).

3. May Keep Postpartum Depression At Bay

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Breastfeeding is closely linked to a lowered risk of postpartum depression. As per studies, it has been observed that women who didn’t breastfeed soon after childbirth were more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Additionally, in the case of those who were struggling with postpartum depression, those who breastfed their children recovered faster (11).

4. Helps The Uterus Shrink!

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One of the most tremendous benefits of breastfeeding is that your urinary tract will slowly start getting back to normal! When you nurse your child, a hormone known as oxytocin is released. This hormone plays a crucial role in helping your uterus shrink back to its normal size, which in turn can vastly reduce the risk of bleeding (12).

5. Improvement In Metabolism

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Breastfeeding has been linked with improvement in metabolism in lactating mothers. Betterment in metabolic factors like blood lipids, blood glucose, and insulin sensitivity are commonly seen for normal breastfeeding mothers. Additionally, lowering the risk of type-2 diabetes has been linked to breastfeeding (13).

Unless you have problems with your milk supply or latching, doctors suggest that you breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself as well as your little one. It is natural in every form, free from harmful chemicals, full of nutrients, absolutely hygienic, and exceptionally pure! What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comment section below!

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Human Milk Composition: Nutrients and Bioactive Factors
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586783/
  2. Breastfeeding
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304199/
  3. Human Milk Composition: Nutrients and Bioactive Factors
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586783/
  4. Human milk for the premature infant
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3508468/
  5. Does breastfeeding reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome?
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19254976/
  6. The association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity: a meta-analysis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301835/
  7. Effect of Breastfeeding Duration on Cognitive Development in Infants: 3-Year Follow-up Study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4810341/
  8. Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312189/
  9. Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer Risk Reduction: Implications for Black Mothers
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069526/
  10. Breastfeeding as a method to prevent cardiovascular diseases in the mother and the child
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25929361/
  11. Comparison Of Prevalence Of Postpartum Depression Symptoms Between Breastfeeding Mothers And Non-breastfeeding Mothers
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428639/
  12. Breastfeeding
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK304199/
  13. Impact of Breastfeeding on Maternal Metabolism: Implications for Women with Gestational Diabetes
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146528/
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