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Breastfeeding or formula feeding, it’s a personal decision that only you can make. If you’ve been considering whether or not to breastfeed your new baby, here is the information you might not want to miss.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and even continues after the baby starts to consume solid foods, until age 1 year or until both mom and baby agree to stop.
Breastfeeding is also recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) until a child is two years old or longer as the advantages last that long. For the best results, these organisations suggest starting as soon as one hour after birth.
Well, what makes the recommendation from these health organizations so strong?
Here are 11 scientifically-proven benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrients for newborns
Breast milk contains everything a newborn requires in the first 6 months of life, and in the appropriate proportions. Its composition even changes with the changing demands of the newborn, especially during the first month of life.
Colostrum is a thick, yellowish fluid produced by your breasts in the first few days after birth. It is high in protein, low in sugar, and loaded with beneficial compounds. It's a true miracle food that can't be replicated using a formula.
Colostrum is the best first milk because it aids the development of the newborn's digestive tract. After the first few days, as the baby's tummy grows, the breasts begin to produce more milk.
Breast milk contains important antibodies
Breast milk is loaded with antibodies which help your baby to fight off viruses and bacteria, which is especially important during the early months when your baby is vulnerable.
This is particularly the case of colostrum, the first milk. Colostrum contains a lot of immunoglobulin A (IgA) as well as a variety of other antibodies.
When you're exposed to viruses or bacteria, your body produces antibodies, which ultimately end up in your milk. It's all about immunity for your baby!
Breast milk promotes baby’s healthy weight
Breastfeeding encourages a healthy weight increase in babies and at the same time helps to prevent childhood obesity. A study shows that breastfeeding for more than 4 months can linked to a lower risk of a baby being overweight or obese.
This could be linked to the emergence of new gut bacteria. Breastfed newborns had more good beneficial gut bacteria, which could influence fat storage. Also, breast-fed babies have higher levels of leptin (a hormone that controls hunger and fat storage. ) in their systems compared to formula-fed babies.
Breastfed babies also regulate their milk consumption on their own. They’re better at eating only until they’ve satisfied their hunger, which aids in the development of healthy eating habits.
Breastfed babies also self-regulate their milk intake. which helps them develop healthy eating patterns.
Breastfeeding promotes uterine contractions
During pregnancy, your uterus expands rapidly, from the size of a pear to nearly occupying the entire space in your abdomen.
Your uterus goes through a process called involution after delivery, which helps it return to its original size. Oxytocin helps drive the process, it is a hormone that increases during pregnancy. During labour, your body produces large amounts of oxytocin to aid in the delivery of the baby and to prevent bleeding. It can also contribute to the bonding process with your new baby.
Breastfeeding also increases the amount of oxytocin. It helps the uterus restore to its original size by encouraging uterine contractions and reducing bleeding.
Breastfeeding mothers had a lower risk of depression.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a kind of depression that can occur shortly after delivery.
According to a study in 2012, Breastfeeding mothers had a lower risk of developing postpartum depression than mothers who wean early or do not breastfeed.
Breastfeeding lowers your risk of disease.
Breastfeeding appears to offer long-term protection from cancer as well as other diseases.
Breast and ovarian cancer risk is related to the amount of time a woman spends breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of:
The benefits of breastfeeding are seemingly endless, to both baby and mother. Talk to your healthcare professional if you are still considering whether breastfeeding is the right choice for you.
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