The Many Benefits Of Breastfeeding, and It’s Great Importance…


By Melissa Eliyahoo — 
Isn’t it the goal of every new mom, to be willing to do everything it takes, to insure that the health of their newborn is going to be the best that it can be?!

 

Most new moms don’t realize the true importance of breastfeeding, and all the great benefits that go along with it.  There are many reasons why breastfeeding is so important, one of the main ones being the amazing nutrition your little one gets.  Breastfeeding can not only build your baby’s immune system but also prevent them from an array of many diseases later on in life.   As well as nutrition, breastfeeding creates a beautiful bonding experience between mother and baby, which is extremely important for your little one to feel nurtured and loved, and great for emotional health.   Of course it can definitely be easy to get discouraged as a new mom, sometimes it may feel like the baby isn’t eating enough, or you are not producing enough but a lot of the time this is not the case.

 

In an article in the journal of pediatrics it says “only a third of the mothers who plan on exclusively breastfeeding for 3 months actually do it”.  It is unfortunate because breast milk really is the best nutrition for an infant, it is what they are meant to have.  Natures perfect food, in every way!  This study also continues to say that mothers are more likely to continue breastfeeding if the hospitals don’t give the babies formula.  It turns out that 78% of US hospitals routinely give formula to healthy breastfeeding infants.  Mothers are mistakenly led to believe that formula does very well as a replacement for breast milk, but it definitely does not! Nothing can duplicate the properties of breast milk, no matter how many vitamins minerals and supplements are added to what is basically a chemical formulation.  Breast Milk is the one and only natural, complete and complex nutrition for human infants, and it is important to be sure to feed babies breast milk for at least the first year of life.

 

Why exactly is breast milk so much more beneficial that formula? 

Colostrum: Early breast milk is called Colostrum, which is thick and yellow, and also considered to be liquid gold!  It is the first breast milk you make during pregnancy and just after birth, and very rich in protein, vitamins and minerals to protect the baby.  After about 5 days is when you start producing mature milk, which has just the right amount of nutrients and antibodies the baby needs to continue to grow.   The colostrum coats the GI tract, preventing harmful bacteria and allergy-triggering protein molecules from crossing into the baby’s blood, it helps the baby fight infection and develop a stronger immune system.

 

Breast milk is easier to digest than formula: The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk, which are loaded with artificial hormones and antibiotics, and are very mucus forming and acidic for the body.  Cows milk is pretty much indigestible for a baby or anyone for that matter, hence “cows milk” (meant for a calf).  Breast milk is uncontaminated by bacteria and is easier for the infant’s stomach to digest, it is loaded with everything the baby needs to be strong and healthy!

 

Breast milk fights disease: The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness.  Formula can’t match the chemical makeup of human breast milk, and among formula fed babies; ear infections and diarrhea are more common.

 

Breast milk changes as baby’s needs change: Breast milk contains over 400 nutrients that cannot be recreated in a laboratory, and these nutrients are essential for the healthy production and growth of babies.   The caloric density, protein, carbs, and fat in the breast milk changes with the growth of the baby in order to meet the nutritional needs of the baby, unlike formula.

 

The benefits of feeding my baby breast milk over formula…

 

  • Reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets
  • Reduced risk of childhood diabetes
  • Protection against ear infections, respiratory illness, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections.
  • Protection against allergies, asthma, eczema, and severity of allergic disease
  • Protection against childhood cancers
  • Bacterial infections
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Reduced risk of SIDS (sudden death syndrome)
  • Decreased risk of tooth decay
  • Nursing promotes facial structure development, enhanced speech, straighter teeth and enhances vision
  • Breastfed infants develop higher IQ’s and have improved brain and nervous system development
  • Reduced risk of heart disease later on in life
  • Increased bone density (Protection again Osteoporosis/hip fracture later in life)
  • Plays an important role in the emotional and spiritual development of babies
  • Breastfed babies enjoy a special warm bonding and emotional relationship with their mothers
  • Antibody response to vaccines are higher
  • Are hospitalized 10 times less than formula fed infants in the first year of life
  • Decreased risk for vitamin E and Iron deficiency, anemia
  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers

 

Mommy Benefit’s too:  Not only do nursing mothers benefit from reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and osteoporosis, but there are many other benefits as well.   It is proven that mothers who breastfeed have an increase in confidence and ability in caring for their infant.  Breast feeding helps the mother’s body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster, it promotes weight loss.  You can burn 500-1500 calories per day.  It also helps the uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding.  Breast-feeding is a great pick me up; the hormones produced during nursing have an endorphin effect, giving you a relaxed feeling.  Breast-feeding saves moms about 7 hours a week off their feet, and no need to wake up in the night waiting for the formula to heat up, just pull out your breast, simple as that!

 

Saves the family money: Overall breast fed babies are less sick which reduces healthcare costs for the family, less doctor office visits, prescriptions, over the counter medicine purchases, and hospitalizations.  Breast milk is free, which eliminates the cost of formula, which could add up to thousands of dollars a year!

 

If only the doctors would educate pregnant women on the importance of breastfeeding, and how big of an impact it has on the health of their babies, then I believe more women would breastfeed.  Unfortunately there isn’t enough education out there for pregnant women, and they are left having to do their own research.

 

If breastfeeding is so important for new babies then why are new moms giving up on it?

 

A lot of women feel they give it their all and do everything they can to breastfeed, and it still isn’t going as expected, so they just stop.  Then there are other women, who may not be as educated and have a difficult time, and in the end give up.  Either way there are many specific reasons, and solutions why women give up, without ever fully giving it their all.  Below is a list of a few of the main reasons why women stop breastfeeding early on.

 

It’s hard work:  It can be hard enough not getting enough sleep with a newborn, and then throwing breastfeeding into the mix, makes it even more difficult.  It takes time to get the hang of breastfeeding, and it can be painful with the nipples becoming so sore, this is when patience becomes a virtue!  But don’t go running for the bottle!!  One more important thing to know is that giving your baby a pacifier can lead to nipple confusion, so encouraging the baby to comfort him/her self at the breast will be much more beneficial.

 

Getting support is a great way to get you through the early struggles of breastfeeding, there are lactation consultants and using one can make a HUGE difference.  Having support is so important during this time, a time when it is needed the most.

 

Fear of the baby not getting enough milk:  A big reason why moms stop breastfeeding is because they are worried that the baby isn’t getting enough to eat.  Most of the time this is actually not the case, the truth is that the breast naturally creates more than enough milk for the size of the infant’s stomach.  Most of the time women produce more than enough breast milk, but because the baby hasn’t been taught to latch on correctly, it seems they aren’t getting enough.  A good way to measure is by keeping track of their dirty diapers, weight gain, and appearance.  A well balanced diet is also important when it comes to breast milk production, and you must drink plenty of water.  Fenugreek is an excellent herb to help increase milk supply, and milk thistle is another milk enhancer.

 

So again, support is key, as well as education, making sure that you have support from either a lactation consultant or from close friends or family to help guide you on your way to successfully breastfeeding!

 

Discomfort with nursing in public:  Even though the truth of it, is that breastfeeding is just feeding a baby, many women, often feel uncomfortable when they do so in a public place.  The solution here is to think about the health of your baby, and put your discomfort aside, to give your baby what they need.

Nowadays there are also many things you can buy to keep what is going on down there more private.

 

Not producing enough breast milk:  A mother’s milk supply may diminish if she is not feeding her baby often enough.  Physical conditions such as hormonal disorders can also cause low milk supply, although for most women the problem is delivery, not production.   The more often you feed your baby, the more breast milk you will make.  You can stimulate your body to produce more milk by adding a pumping session between feedings.  Also if you are giving your baby some formula then this can cause your body to produce less milk.

 

 

Breastfeeding as you have read in the above article, is extremely important for all newborn babies.  In the world we live in today the rate of disease is at an all time high especially in children, and the food we are putting in our bodies is a huge reason for this increase.  Breast milk is so pure, natural, and such a major preventative for so many diseases, it seems crazy that women are not more educated about it.  I hope with all this informative information you can do all it takes to be sure to give your child the best nutrition possible, and breastfeed!

 

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