The first two years of a baby’s life is very critical, therefore the nutrition the baby receives during this period can have a resounding impact. It has been proven that the most complete form of nutrient for infants is breast milk. Breast milk is a balance of nutrients that closely matches infant’s requirements, fortified with the perfect balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates and other nutrients that boosts the baby’s immune system and helps with growth and development.
Human milk also contains immunologic agents and other compounds that act against viruses, bacteria and parasites. There are lots of benefits children enjoy while being breast fed, they enjoy lower rates of several childhood diseases, such as, respiratory infection, ear infections and diarrhea. It also helps with regulating the baby’s weight and prevents a baby from being obese or overweight.
These are some of the components in the human breast milk that are not majorly spoken about, yet they play very vital roles in the development of the child.
Components such as:
- Antibodies and white blood cells
- Antibacterial properties
- Oligosaccharides (special carbohydrates that encourages the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive system)
- Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (helps with development of the brain eyes and nervous system)
- Cytokines (special proteins involved in cell communication and immune system formation
These and much more are components that make the breast milk best for your baby.
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breast feeding for at least six months; as breast is the “best” for both mother and baby.
Breast feeding also has positive effects on the mothers too; a breastfeeding mother´s body releases an hormone that causes her uterus to return to its normal size and shape quicker and reduces blood loss after delivery. Breastfeeding also reduces the mother’s risk of having breast and ovarian cancer.
Here are highlights of benefits of breast milk for your baby:
- It decreases rate of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of the baby’s life.
- It reduces the possibility of the baby developing eczema, asthma, and food allergies later in life.
- It reduces the possibility of infectious disease
- Improves dental health, reducing the risk of tooth decay
- Reduces the risk of the child being obese
- Reduces the rate of type 1 & 2 diabetes mellitus, lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkin diseases when the child grows older.
We have also highlighted benefits for the mother:
- It creates a unique and power bond between the baby and the mother
- It stimulates the body to create antibodies, that helps the mother and baby recover fast if sickness arises.
- Helps the mother return to her pre-pregnancy weight
- Decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
- Delays the return of your menstrual cycle, this would help the body to maintain iron and would act in most women as a form of contraception to reduce the chances of getting pregnant again.
Breastfeeding is generally the best for the mother, child and the environment.
It’s easier for a mother to wake up at night and just breastfeed rather than getting up to prepare food for the baby. It also helps the environment by reducing the number of used containers that would be disposed into the system. Be a friend and a doctor to your baby by simply breastfeeding.
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