It’s always been fairly well known that breastfeeding is the best choice for your child, and that if you have the means to fulfill this duty it can be pretty beneficial, not just to your baby, but to you as a mother as well. Over time the facts on this particular activity have varied and the most commonly known advantages dealt with weight loss due to a higher volume of calories burned and the contracting of ovaries during feedings. It’s also been reported that some infants who breastfeed seem to have a faster level of learning than formula fed babies. More recently there’s been a rise in information on this form of feeding, and it’s certainly worth a second look.
Health Microbiota and Immune Boosters
Think about the way that your body is put together and all of the wonderful natural microbiological reactions that it goes through each and every day. Something as simple as being able to fight off the common cold or how well you digest a bowl of cereal can come from your mother, and in turn, be passed on to your infant through your breast milk. Allan Walker from Massachusetts General Hospital is quoted by Ed Yong of National Geographic in saying: “We now recognize more and more that factors in breast milk influence the gut microbiota, which in turn sets up the immune system to have fewer chronic illnesses later in life”
Immunoglobin A, often referred to as SigA or IgA can be found in almost any secretion that your body produces such as tears and saliva, and as an adult you will produce this substance on your own, but as an infant you don’t produce it at all. This leaves babies at a severe disadvantage in the outside world, and is one way that a mother’s breast milk can make a huge difference in a little life by lending them this immune booster and in a way, showing their body what it needs to do in the future to create this for itself.
Digestion Ease For Premature Babies
Along with this microbiota that assists in babies stomachs and how they break things down and protect themselves from viruses comes another digestive aid. Breast milk is the very mildest food that your little one can have, and especially if your infant is born premature, putting something as harsh as formula into that tiny tummy could cause pain and discomfort as he or she tries to break it down. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Women’s Health Division reports: “For most babies — especially premature babies — breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk and it takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting them.”
This doesn’t mean that if you’re unable to create breast milk that you’re not able to care for your child properly, only that if you do have the ability to share this food with your infant, it can be in the best interest of yourself and baby to do so. It can be tricky at first for any new mother and fortunately many nurses and doctors are willing to show you how to perfect the process. Many provinces and states are proactive in educating women through informative packets and hands on training with nurses while in hospital with your child.
Benefits For Moms
As mentioned previously, breast feeding isn’t just beneficial for your infant, it’s also healthy for you, as a woman, and can help you in many different areas of your life. Weight loss has been said to be one way that this form of feeding will assist your life as you try to lose the added pounds put on during pregnancy, but recent studies also suggest more serious advantages. Women who don’t smoke and breast feed for six months or longer have been shown to have a reduced risk of breast cancer; sciencedaily.com states: “A new analysis has found that breastfeeding for more than six months may safeguard nonsmoking mothers against breast cancer.”
Women who smoked and breastfed didn’t show this prominent advantage, and in some cases, breastfeeding while smoking isn’t always advised and should be discussed with your doctor.