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Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both the Mother and Baby

Updated on 1 September 2022

Breastfeeding is highly recommended for mothers to maintain the optimum health of both mother and baby. It has been proven beneficial as it serves a variety of health-related purposes. 

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that mother should breastfeed their babies until they are 2 years old as there are many benefits of breastfeeding. Let’s discuss the benefits that it offers.

Benefits of Breastfeeding For the Mother

Here is the list of positive effects on a mother’s body if breast milk is chosen to feed the baby,

  • The uterus expands a lot during pregnancy and goes through involution after the baby is delivered to return to its previous state. A hormone called oxytocin is released when a mother breastfeeds her baby. It helps to contract the uterus and reduces post-birth bleeding. 
  • Breastfeeding helps in burning calories. Lactating mothers lose some amount of weight over three months as compared to non-lactating mothers. 
  • Lactating mothers might face a lower amount of postpartum depression. 
  • It also prevents many diseases in the long term, especially cancer. Longer the duration of breastfeeding, the lesser the chances of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. 
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk for arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, blood fats, and type 2 diabetes. 
  • It can also prevent menstruation by pausing ovulation. This lowers the chances of getting pregnant again and may leave a natural gap between two pregnancies. Menstruation does not bother you while you are busy spending time with your baby. 

Benefits of Breastfeeding For the Baby

A newborn baby can get a lot of benefits from breastfeeding that protect it from falling sick and prevents chronic diseases. It is not only healthy but also convenient for both the mother and the baby. 

  • Breastmilk is the most suitable composition to take care of a newly born. It is considered the ideal option in terms of nutrition. As a baby grows older, it supports the nutritional requirements. 
  • Breastmilk contains colostrum which is rich in protein and filled with a lot of good compounds. It helps in digestion. None of the formula food is capable of doing this. Except for vitamin D content, all other nutritional components are present in breast milk. 
  • The required antibodies to fight against viruses and bacteria are present in Breastmilk. The first milk especially is capable of protecting very young babies. Due to IgA, the baby is protected through a layer in its digestive system, throat, and nose. Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to suffer from various infections.
  • It is necessary that no other food is given to the baby until it is 6 months old in order to prevent diseases like ear and throat infections, sinus, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal infections. 
  • Breastfed babies also have stronger immunity against cold and gut infections, intestinal tissue damage, asthma, eczema, SIDS, allergy-borne diseases, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, bowel diseases, childhood leukaemia, etc. 
  • It promotes healthy weight gain. It helps to avoid obesity due to the right amount of gut bacteria. Leptin is a prominent hormone that regulates hunger and fat. 
  • Breastfed children are smarter, as per some studies. They are intelligent and behavioural problems are less seen in them. 

It all depends upon a mother’s choice whether to breastfeed her baby or not. There are numerous reasons that support it.

Breastmilk v/s Formula Milk

Breastmilk is considered an excellent source of nutrition for newborns, with many advantages supporting their health and growth. In the case of formula milk, you need to spend some money to buy it. It is important to keep a stock of formula milk and to take care of the sterilisation of bottles from which the baby is fed. The formula milk is not in a ready form like breastmilk, so you need to prepare it, keeping all hygiene points in mind. Specifically, this process becomes burdensome when you travel. The temperature maintenance and life of formula milk need to be observed every time. No such hassles are there in the case of breast milk. 

It is recommended to breastfeed a baby for the first six months at least and can be continued till a year though the child might start taking other foods. It is probably the best care a mother can offer to her child. Not to mention, as we have already discovered, Breastfeeding Has Many Benefits for Both Mother and Baby. To know more about the benefits of breastfeeding, reach out to the best gynecologist in Hyderabad at CARE Hospitals. 

WHO and UNICEF recommend: early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth; exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life; and introduction of nutritionally adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

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