Why breast is best?
Breast milk is the best food for your baby as it is a complete food source containing all the nutrients your baby needs. There are at least 400 different types of nutrients in breast milk including hormones and disease-fighting compounds that are absent in infant milk formula.
Breast milk contains proteins as well as sugars (lactose) and fats which are well balanced for your baby. The baby’s intestinal tract is best aided in its digestion by the vitamins, enzymes, and minerals found in breast milk.
Breast milk also contains infection-fighting antibodies from the mother, and breast-fed babies are believed to be at a reduced risk for many acute and chronic infections early in life. The high content of omega-3 fatty acids in breast milk also promotes brain growth. Perhaps the most amazing thing about breast milk is that its nutritional make-up adjusts to your baby’s needs as she grows and develops.
Another reason why breastfeeding is encouraged in the early months is because some formula-fed babies may develop an allergy to cows milk protein contained in standard infant formula. When a baby develops cows milk allergy, she may become irritable, vomit or develop diarrhea and skin rash.
Are there any disadvantages to breastfeeding?
No, there are only perceived disadvantages. It may seem inconvenient that only the mother can feed and no other family members can help. It is very much in family life that different family members have different roles. So fathers can support the breastfeeding mum, help with diapering, carrying or bathing. Grandma can help cook for mum and do some washing.
Mothers may feel sleep deprived and tire more as breastfeeding require more frequent feeding. However this is only temporary. As the baby matures, feeding intervals will increase naturally. Keep things in perspective. This is only a few months of your lifetime of 80 years.
Some mothers worry about engorgement, mastitis etc. It may happen but it sure beats having a sick baby.
What are some of the benefits of breastfeeding for me?
The benefits of breast feeding for mothers are the reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It also helps you to lose some of the pregnancy weight and may lower the risk of osteoporosis. A recent study shows that it may reduce your chance of heart disease. Another benefit is it saves money on formula and bottles and is more convenient for night feeds as you can simply latch the baby when she cries for milk.
Nursing also helps most women lose weight after delivery, as 500 calories or more are used by breastfeeding each day. The nipple stimulation that occurs during breastfeeding in the early months also helps the uterus contract and can help stop uterine bleeding.
What‘s most special is perhaps the times you latch your baby. This creates a special bond between the two of you when you and the child enjoy skin-to-skin contact. You also have a healthier baby who is attached to you. So you spend less time worrying and on doctor visits.
These answers have been brought to you by The Breastfeeding Experts Website at www.thebreastfeedingexperts.com proudly supported by Philips AVENT