Reasons Breastfeeding is so Beneficial

June 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Newborn Care

During the time a fetus spends in the womb, he/she receives all then nutrients needed via the mother’s umbilical cord, which includes various compounds that help develop a strong immune system. Although the baby’s immune system is relative strong at birth, it is not yet to the point where it can offer full protection. Nature takes care of this in the form of breast milk, which is rich in a substance called colostrum.

For about two days, the mother’s breast will fill with colostrum so as the baby suckles, he or she is getting a ton of nutrients. The compounds found in breast milk offer many benefits to include finishing the development of the baby’s immune system. The colostrum has a yellowish coloring, expressed through the nipple. Loaded with carbohydrates, fats, white blood cells, and other nutrients, the baby is getting everything needed for a strong start in life.

One of the most important antibodies that breast milk contains is immunoglobulins, as well as proteins. The reason the antibodies are important is that they help the baby fight off bacteria, viruses, fungi, and a variety of organisms that could lead to disease. However, breast milk antibodies also work by coating the gastrointestinal tract so any bacteria existing within the baby’s stomach will not be able to reach the bloodstream. Additionally, small cells called macrophages exist in breast milk, which encapsulates and washes out germs known to cause illness.

As you can see, breast milk is a single solution that provides the newborn with all the nutrients needed to further develop.

Interestingly, while most adults watch the foods they eat to avoid as many fats as possible, for newborn babies, fats are actually essential to the growth of the nervous system and regulation of the hormonal system.

Breast milk also contains carbohydrates as mentioned, which is vital for energy. Typically, adults trying to keep weight off will stay away from carbohydrates but in newborns, they get the perfect balance of carbohydrates.

Over the years, many studies have been conducted specific to breast milk and all agree that nature’s solution is the best solution. For this reason, most doctors will encourage soon-to-be mothers to consider breastfeeding. Of course, some have difficulty with breastfeeding, which is where quality formula comes into play. However, what studies show is that for newborns that started life on breast milk, there is a significant decrease of infectious diseases. Even infant diabetes is dramatically reduced and breastfed babies tend to have fewer doctor visits.

While breastfeeding is highly beneficial to the baby, it also has benefits to the mother.

Whether a woman plans to breastfeed or not, her breasts will go through the process of preparing for birth and the feeding of the newborn. Therefore, if a woman cannot or chooses not to breastfeed, she is still going to have swollen, tender breasts. Usually, the woman will need to express the milk and then placed on medication to stop milk production. For women who breastfeed, pumping milk is a great way to store milk used while the parents are out and the baby is with the grandparents.

One of the greatest benefits is that nursing a newborn offers mother and baby special bonding time. This is an opportunity to cuddle and experience quiet time alone.

One of the newest discoveries is that women that breastfeed are at lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Additionally, after giving birth, the body’s return to a menstrual cycle and ovulation is delayed when breastfeeding. Having a baby is hard work so not having to deal with a menstrual cycle for a while is helpful. Keep in mind, if there is no menstrual cycle, the chance of getting pregnant lowers but breastfeeding with a period does not protect a woman from pregnancy.

If you want to give your baby the best start in life, we strongly suggest you consider breastfeeding. Not only will your newborn benefit, you will too. Nature has put everything the baby needs in one place. Breast milk is convenient, always ready to feed, and it is always at the perfect temperature.