Importance of breastfeeding
Breast milk is the best food for your baby and its benefits don’t just end with nutrition. Breast milk is recommended as the only food for your baby for the first six months. All the alternative food options fail to benefit your infant the same way breastfeeding does. Let’s know more.
- Protection from diseases: Your breast milk is tailor-made for your baby. The first milk produced by a nursing mother is called colostrum which is high in antibodies. Antibodies (especially, immunoglobulin A) act against pathogens, giving your baby’s immune system a boost, protecting them from a host of infections, allergies and diseases. The benefits of colostrum have lasting effects, even after the breastfeeding stage. It changes into mature milk gradually and the benefits are still retained in the milk. This milk carries all the nutrients the baby needs. It lowers the risk of common illnesses and certain conditions later in life like asthma, obesity, diabetes, and so on. In fact, UNICEF recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding for 2 years or more along with other nutritious foods.
- A boon for mothers, too: Breastfeeding boosts the release of oxytocin, which calms the mother emotionally and psychologically. It minimizes the risk of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast cancer by 25% as well as decreases the risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Breastfeeding can reduce the blood glucose levels in diabetic mothers. It helps lactating mothers lose weight as it can burn around 500 calories in a day.
- Strengthens the bond between mother and child: Breastfeeding creates a strong emotional and physical bond between you and your baby. It promotes the sound health development of both the mother and the infant. The release of oxytocin or the “love hormone” makes the beautiful bond of mother and child stronger.
Therefore, breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial methods of protecting your baby’s present and future health.