Breastfeeding is beneficial to both mother and baby. Breast milk contains all the essential vitamins and ingredients crucial for the baby’s development during the first six months of life. It is loaded with disease fighting substances that protect babies against diseases. An immune factor called secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) is present in large amounts in colostrum. It protects against invading germs by forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes in your baby’s intestines, nose, and throat. Breast milk can replace any other food including infant formula.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
Protection against infections : Breastfeeding protects babies. Breast milk contains colostrum which is a thick yellow liquid that you make during pregnancy and right after birth. This golden liquid is rich in nutrients and antibodies that protect babies against diseases and infections.
Easy to digest : Breast milk is easy to digest especially in preterm babies. Formula is made of cow’s milk and it takes time for the baby’s stomach to adjust to digesting it.
Boost immune system : Breast milk boost the baby’s immune system. During breastfeeding , the mother passes on certain antibodies to the child . This helps the child resist diseases and provide a normal immune responds to vaccination.
Protect against diseases : Breastfeeding your baby protects him from diseases like diarrhea, ear infection, meningitis and lower respiratory infections. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months provides the most protection. There is a decreased rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in breast-fed babies.
Allergies : Breastfeeding babies protects them from acquiring allergies. Babies fed on breast milk are less likely to experience an allergic reaction.
Helps baby grow : Breastfeeding makes your baby grow. Matured milk which is a thinner milk you get 4 to 5 days after birth contains the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow.
Protection in later years : Baby’s who are breastfed are less likely to develop childhood cancer like leukemia. They are also protected later in life from diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, high blood pressure and are less likely to be obese. These babies are also less likely to have dental cavities in later years.
Decreased risk of learning disabilities : Breastfeeding babies decrease their risk of developing learning and psychological problems in future.
Security : Babies who are breast-fed are more secure, warm and comforted.
Saves time : Breast milk may need a little effort at first but once your baby settles on it, it makes life easier. You have food available right when your baby needs it. No need for sterilizing baby bottles or warming formula.
Saves money : It also saves money because there is no need to buy formula. Babies who are breast-fed are less likely to be sick and so health care cost is reduced.
Uterus size : Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a hormone that allows the uterus to return to normal size quickly.
Mother’s health : Breastfeeding is also good for the mother’s health. It protects her against breast and ovarian cancers, type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression.
Weight loss : It also helps moms lose weight after birth. Breastfeeding makes the mother burn calories as the body is trying to make milk.
Increase bond : Breastfeeding increases the bond between mother and child.
Birth control : Exclusive breastfeeding serves as a form of birth control and prevents mothers from getting pregnant quickly. This form of contraceptive is called lactational amenorrhea ( LAM ). It is only effective when babies are exclusively breast-fed on demand at least every four hours during the day and six hours during the night. That means a minimum of six long breastfeeds during a period of 24 hours. Do not give any food or liquid to the baby. Lastly the breast needs to supply all your baby’s suckling needs because suckling stimulates the hormone that suppresses ovulation. No pacifier or binky.
LAM does not work once your baby STOPS exclusive breastfeeding. Even though you may not have your period at this time, you are still fertile to get pregnant again. Try other forms of contraceptives at this time.
HOW LAM WORKS
It only works if
- your baby is younger than 6 months old.
- your period has not returned .
- you are exclusively breastfeeding on demand every 24 hours.