Since World Breastfeeding Week officially commenced yesterday, presented here are a few benefits of breastfeeding your child. As you will soon find out, breast milk is far more than jusy a source of nutrition -- it promotes the health and well-being of both mother and baby:
~ It is best to keep your infant on a strict diet of only breast milk for the first six months of his/ her life, because it protects against gastrointestinal problems -- it is easier to digest and will not cause constipation. It is also known to boost a baby's gastrointestinal immunity.
~ Breastfeeding protects against asthma and ear infections -- this is because it creates a protective layer upon the membranes of a baby's nose and throat.
~ Cows' milk can cause some babies to react with severe allergies. Breastmilk, in contrast, is 100 percent safe.
~ Research has shown that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from obesity in later age -- this is probably because they can feed for as long as their appetites demand and are less likely to gain excess weight right from the start.
~ Breastfeeding has been linked to the prevention of childhood leukemia, Type 1 diabetes and high blood pressure later in life.
~ Breastfeeding is believed to boost a child's intelligence, in part because of the emotional bonding that takes place between mother and baby, and in part because it contains several fatty acids that contribute to the development of an infant's brain.
~ New mothers who breastfeed are known to shed weight quicker post-pregnancy, than those who do not. It also helps reduce stress and postpartum bleeding.
~ The risk of breast and ovarian cancer is believed to reduce if breastfeeding takes place post-pregnancy -- the longer the period of nursing, the lesser the risk.
~ Breastfeeding is convenient, cost-free (as compared to expensive formula, feeding bottles and other baby paraphernalia required for top feeds) and best of all, helps a mother bond with her child emotionally -- the physical contact is also a source of comfort to infants.