Breastfeeding: The Powerful Benefits for Mom & Baby

First-time mothers deserve all the information they need to give the best for their children. To start, here we'll show you the many things you can gain from breastfeeding.

The journey to parenthood may take months, or perhaps even years, of planning before you feel armed and ready to have your first kid. Even so, no amount of forward-thinking prepares you for when you finally hold them in your arms. As your baby arrives in the world, the room comes alive with the loving energy from mother and child. And within the first hour, that intimate bond strengthens even more as you feed your baby close to your chest.

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months allows you to nurture your relationship and give optimal nourishment to your baby. Though this practice primarily benefits your infant, there are also many ways it's also great for mommies. Here we'll show you the powerful benefits breastfeeding brings to both moms and babies.

Why Breast Milk Is Best For Babies

From the time of birth up until 12 months of age, moms are highly encouraged to breastfeed their children to provide optimal nourishment. Here are three ways your milk plays a considerable role in your baby's development.

1. Antibodies for stronger immunity

Mother's milk is rich in antibodies that fortify the baby's immune system. The earliest stage of breast milk is called colostrum, wherein it carries high amounts of antibodies from the mother. What breastfeeding essentially means at this time is that you are giving your child the protection they need against sicknesses and other infectious illnesses. For babies to grow strong and healthy, they must get the nourishment they need from their mothers.

2. All the nutrients they need

Through the first six months of breastfeeding, you may notice some changes in your breast milk. From its color, texture, and amount of nutrients it contains, breast milk evolves according to what your child needs for their development. Studies also find that breastfed babies score higher on intelligence tests and have slightly higher IQs. Though your milk changes, it remains to have all the suitable protein, vitamins, sugar, fat, and more that your baby needs to support their health. So if you want to give the best for your child, know that it's already within you.

3. Gentle for their digestion

When your baby cries, you may feel distressed figuring out what they're upset about. Fortunately, the process of elimination will get easier through time and experience. But if you're a first-time parent, it can be pretty tricky. There are many reasons for your child's distress, but a usual culprit is an upset stomach. Luckily, breast milk is gentle on your child's belly and easily digested by their digestive system. Infant formula contains high amounts of casein protein, which tends to curdle in the stomach and cause constipation. Whereas breast milk has an appropriate whey to casein ratio, making your natural milk more suitable for your baby.

Why Breastfeeding is Better For Moms

There are countless benefits of breastfeeding for babies. But of course, mothers can also benefit from this practice. Here are some of the perks that await moms when they breastfeed.

1. Happy hormones to lift your mood

Skin-to-skin contact and the mere intimate practice of breastfeeding promote the production of oxytocin, a happy hormone, in your body. This hormone brings you closer to a state of calmness and helps reduce stress. So for busy moms with several responsibilities to balance, it's comforting to know that being with your baby is enough to keep the worries at bay.

2. Reduces health risks

Breastfeeding bulks up your child's defenses against potential threats to their health, but you get something out of it too. Studies show that breastfeeding mothers have reduced chances of contracting breast cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes down the line. Researchers find that hormonal changes that occur during breastfeeding help remove potentially damaged cells in your body to prevent cancer growth.

3. Helps with weight loss

Burning off the weight you've acquired during pregnancy is one of the many struggles that mothers face. Fortunately, breastfeeding can give you a hand in shedding off those extra calories. During lactation, your body uses fat cells to produce milk, and this process essentially helps with weight loss. Studies show that lactating women likely burn 500 calories per day through breastfeeding alone.

When is it okay to consider infant formula?

Breast milk should always be the top choice for your baby's health and nutrition. Although infant formula may contain nutrients, it does not have the immune-boosting and long-term benefits that breast milk offers. Government regulations such as the Milk Code and Rooming-In and Breast-feeding Act of 1992 are specifically made to safeguard families against misinformation on infant formulas and inform them of the benefits of breastfeeding.

Likewise, it is only upon the advice of your doctor or pediatrician should you introduce your baby to milk formula. If you have a medical condition that you're uncertain will affect your breast milk, you should first consult your healthcare provider. If you’re unable to breastfeed, you may also have the option to consider milk banks. These associations make it possible for babies who are sick or affected by calamities to get safe breast milk from donors.

When should you introduce solid food?

Once your baby reaches six months of age, they may need additional nutrients aside from what they receive from breast milk. You may start with soft food such as mashed fruits and vegetables while still giving them the same amount of your milk. As your baby grows into a toddler, make sure that you're on top of their growth needs.

Ensure that they're getting a nutritious food variety to develop healthy eating habits. To supplement their diet by the age of 4, you may incorporate transitional dairy products like Blemil Plus 4, which prepares your kid for cow's milk. This transitional milk for toddlers is packed with immunonutrients and carnitine that nourish your child's defenses and support their cognitive development.

From nurturing your bond to unlocking countless health perks, there are many ways that you and your child can benefit from breastfeeding. But if you have more questions in need of answers, don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor so you can get the right information and guidance you need. — (MyPharma)

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