Breastfeeding is one of the best feelings in the world a woman can experience. Of course, it hurts like hell in the beginning but you embrace your motherhood every time you breastfeed your baby. We understand that breastfeeding can be pretty difficult sometimes because you have to feed to your baby every now and then, even if you’re out in the public. In a lot of places, especially in India, feeding rooms are not really a thing and getting stared at while nursing may be very uncomfortable. Also, if you’re a working mother, you may not be able to breastfeed your baby frequently after your maternity leave is over. Does that mean you should just resort to an alternative? That’s a big NO.
There is no good enough alternative to replace breastmilk. Breastfeeding is necessary for the baby, the mother, and for the emotional bond that develops between the mother and the baby during the first few months after delivery. Even if it gets a little difficult at times, these 7 benefits will prove that everything is worth the effort:
1. Perfectly Balanced Meal For The Baby
Breast milk is uniquely perfect for the nutritional requirements of infants (1). The species-specific human milk contains nutrients that are easily digestible and in bioavailable forms. No matter what you feed your baby, breast milk is something that doesn’t really have a substitute.
2. Boosts The Baby’s Immunity
Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months are found to have stronger immunity against certain health issues (2). On the other hand, babies who are formula-fed are at the risk of early childhood health issues like diarrhea and ear infections (3). They are also prone to respiratory diseases, leukemia, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and childhood obesity.
3. Might Bring Down The Chances Of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
SIDS is the unforeseen and mysterious death that occurs among babies before they complete one year of age (4). It is one of the major reasons of death among babies who are one month to one year old. Even though it’s unpredictable and can’t be prevented completely, the risks of SIDS can be reduced by breastfeeding your baby (5).
4. Reduces The Risk Of Asthma
Babies who are exclusively breastfed for a longer period have lower chances of getting respiratory diseases like asthma (6). Researchers found that babies who were given other types of milk or solids during the first four months were at a higher risk of asthma. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough, and phlegm.
5. Economic Benefits Of Breastfeeding
Apart from the physical and emotional benefits offered by breastfeeding, it provides you with economic benefits as well. Breastfeeding saves you a considerable amount of money that you would have spent on infant formula (7). A baby who is breastfed has lower chances of getting sick which means that you won’t have to spend a lot on insurance claims, hospital bills, medicines, and the holidays that you take to care for your baby.
Infant formulas and breast milk substitutes need packaging, unlike natural breastmilk. These packaging materials are obviously going to end up in landfills and they will add to the pollution.
7. Burns Calories
Your body uses stored fat and calories from your diet while you breastfeed (8). This means that you will be burning calories when you are breastfeeding your baby and you will lose weight. While this is a good thing for women who are worried about the weight that they gained during pregnancy, it is important that you compensate for this loss of calories by eating a little extra healthy.
Breastfeeding is an absolute necessity for all infants but there are certain cases when breastfeeding is not a good option. Mothers who have HIV, human T-cell lymphotropic virus, tuberculosis at present, or herpes simplex lesions on the mammary glands aren’t advised to breastfeed their babies (9). Also, babies who have galactosemia are not to be breastfed.