04 Aug The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breast milk is known as liquid gold in many cultures and countries throughout the world because of its high nutritional value and powerful influence on a baby’s growth and development. It also has a range of benefits for the mother as well as the baby’s health and immunity!
So what makes breast milk so powerful? Well, it contains antibodies and white blood cells, over 600 different types of probiotics, hormones, antibacterial properties, cytokines (proteins that allow cell communication and immune system formation), fatty acids which help with the development of the brain, nervous system and eyes. These are just a few, but there are are many more components to breast milk which makes it such a powerful force.
Breast milk is tailored specifically to the baby’s needs and changes as the baby grows older to match its needs. Breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months after giving birth and can take place for up to two years.
We’d also like to acknowledge that breastfeeding is not an option for all people who’ve given birth, either they’ve made a decision not to breastfeed or they’re not able to for personal or health reasons. No matter what, it’s okay and it doesn’t make you any less of a mother or parent to your child. Read on for the five benefits of breastfeeding below:
1.Breastfeeding can prevent diseases in the mother
Breastfeeding is known to help reduce the risk of the mother developing diseases such as ovarian and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Lactation uses extra fat and sugar that were stored in the body during pregnancy to support the baby, which then resets the mother’s metabolism and reduces her chances of disease in the future.
2. Helps mother and baby to bond
When breastfeeding the “feel-good” hormone oxytocin is released in the mother. This allows the mother to connect with the baby easily and reduces stress and anxiety.
3. It contains highly important antibodies
Breast milk contains numerous antibodies which helps the baby fight off infections, viruses or illness a lot more effectively because its immune system can handle it. The first couple of days after giving birth the breasts create a thick, yellowish liquid called colostrum. This contains important antibodies that will strengthen the baby’s immune system. It contains immunoglobulin A (IgA), and other antibodies. IgA however, creates a protective layer in the baby’s nose, throat and digestive system which prevents the baby from getting ill.
4. Breast milk can be used topically
Yes, that’s right! Breast milk can be used to heal rashes, eczema, burns and baby acne. You can add some breast milk to your baby’s bath water to help soothe rashes, or you can dab some on patches of eczema. Some mother’s have even used breast milk to help with clogged tear ducts!
5. Breast milk has loads of vitamins
Until about six months old, the main form of nutrition a baby gets is through breast milk or formula. This means that all the parts of the baby’s body that are growing and developing will be directly impacted by the vitamins the baby is receiving. These vitamins assist with the development of the baby’s skin, their vision, hair, brain, nervous system, gut and more. A few common vitamins found in breast milk are vitamin A, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamins D, E and K. This is why consuming a balanced diet is highly recommended for the first six months of breastfeeding.