Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Advantages of Breast Feeding for Newborns: Benefits of Breast feeding for Mothers

The benefits of breast feeding are numerous and far reaching. Breast milk is ideal for the baby, and breastfeeding benefits further than basic nutrition. Breast feeding is known to reduce the risk of infant deaths and prevent obesity in adulthood. Breast feeding has its own sets of benefits for the mothers. This article provides information about advantages of breast feeding for both the newborn and mothers.
Breastfeeding Protects the
Baby from a Host of Illnesses
Advantages of Breast Feeding: Breastfeeding Protects From a Host of Diseases

In addition to providing your baby with all the essential vitamins and nutrients in the first six months of life, breast milk is loaded with disease battling agents which shield your baby from a multitude of disorders and illness. 

  • Breast fed babies are lesser prone to GI tract infections, respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis; even when they do occur, they are less severe in intensity. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months proffers maximum protection.
  • Secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) present in colostrum, the first milk your body synthesizes for your baby provides a great deal of the protective effect. The immunoglobulin is present in lower concentrations in mature breast milk. It wards off microbes from entering the body by forming a defensive layer on the mucous membranes in the baby's mouth, nose, ear, throat and bowels.
  • Protection against diseases lasts beyond the breastfeeding phase; it reduces the risk of developing certain childhood cancers. Antibodies in breast milk give the baby's immune mechanism a boost.
  • Breastfeeding also helps avert various diseases that hit later in life, such as, atherosclerosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Breast Feeding vs Formula Feeding: Breastfeeding Can Protect your Newborn from Allergies

Breast feeding plays a vital role in developing the immune system of the newborn and hence babies who are breast fed are at lower risk of allergies compared to other babies,

  • Babies who are formula fed tend to have more allergies as against breastfed babies.
  • Secretory IgA present in breast milk checks allergic reactions to food by providing a protective layer to the GI tract. Without this protective layer, inflammation develops and the bowel wall becomes leaky. Consequently, undigested proteins cross the gut and cause allergic reactions and other health issues.
Breast Feeding and Cognition: Breastfeeding May Boost Your Child's Intelligence

Breastfeeding Boosts
Cognitive Development
Research says there is a strong link between breastfeeding and cognitive development. Prolonged and exclusive breast feeding appreciably enhances cognition in a baby.
Experts state that emotional bonding that occurs during breast feeding contributes to some of the brainpower benefits and that fatty acids present in breast milk play a pivotal role.

Benefits of Breast Milk: Breastfeeding Protects Your Newborn from Obesity

Breast milk can protect your child from becoming overweight or obese as he grows older. Children who are breast fed are less likely to become obese compared to newborns who are fed on formula,
  • Breastfeeding is known to cut down the child's risk of becoming overweight or obese. Breastfed babies eat properly until their hunger is satisfied, leading to healthier eating patterns as they grow.
  • Formula fed babies gain weight speedily in the first few weeks. This speedy weight gain is linked to obesity later on in life.
  • Breast milk has lesser insulin compared to formula. (Insulin promotes the formation of fat.)
  •   Breastfed babies have larger amounts of leptin in their system; leptin plays a role in managing appetite and fat.
Breastfeeding Benefits: Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk of SIDS and Immunization Side Effects

Breastfeeding – either entirely or partially lowers the risk of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Babies who are breastfed are less liable to fevers after immunizations as compared to babies who are formula fed.

Benefits of Breast Feeding For Mother

Breast feeding also has several advantages and benefits for mothers,

  • Breastfeeding decreases stress and chances of developing postpartum depressionResearch and clinical trials state that women who did not breastfeed or stopped breastfeeding early are more prone to postpartum depression.Breast feeding activates the release of the hormone oxytocin; and oxytocin encourages a feeling of repose and relaxation.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of certain types of cancer: Studies reveal that the longer a woman breastfeeds, the more she is protected against breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It's quite ambiguous how breastfeeding helps, but they say it may have to do with the structural changes in the breast tissue that is brought about by breastfeeding and that lactation suppresses the quantity of estrogen that the body manufactures.
  • Breast feeding helps lose weight: Breast feeding has a significant cosmetic benefit as well. It helps you shed surplus and unsightly weight rather quickly. Milk production requires a lot of energy; thus your calories get rapidly burnt up during the process of milk production.

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