Whilst many are well aware of the health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby, it has been a hot topic in global media recently, and there has been much ado about whether or not mothers should be breastfeeding in public- whether it is appropriate or indeed necessary.
My response to that? The debate should not be based on this irrelevant discussion but rather on the plethora of benefits of breastfeeding, both for the mother and for the baby. Benefits that can’t be achieved with formula.
Now, you may feel uncomfortable breastfeeding your baby in front of others. You know what? That’s okay! This is an opportunity for you to steal away from everyone else and provide your baby with both mother-baby bonding time and also with a powerful, complete and amazingly valuable source of nutrition – your breast milk!
Social restraints and norms may dictate that breastfeeding is not the hip thing to do (or maybe now it is as more celebrities are choosing this route), but the question remains:
Is breastfeeding your baby better for your babies’ health than formula? Although formula may contain the bare essentials of what your baby requires to grow, it does not provide the health benefits to your baby that breastfeeding does.
In addition to this, formula does not provide you, the mother, with any health advantages whatsoever. So why miss out on boosting your own wellbeing if you can avoid it?
In this article you will learn the many reasons why you should breastfeed your baby for the first six months of their life if you can:
- numerous health benefits for your baby that formula cant fully provide
- plentiful advantages to yourself whilst you breastfeed your baby
Is breastfeeding better than formula for the baby?
The short answer is absolutely, 100%, without a shadow of a doubt, YES. It is a magical experience for both parties involved, and the positive health factors associated with breastfeeding far outweigh the perceived negatives. The slightly longer, more detailed answer follows…
The overwhelming consensus in the medical community is that if you can breastfeed, you should most definitely give it a try. Exclusively breastfeeding the baby for the first six months of their life is the best option, but some women, much to their distress, may be unable to do so. This maybe due to the baby not latching on properly despite repeated attempts, the mother not making enough milk even after trying techniques to increase milk supply or simply because they may have medical reasons which render them unable to breastfeed.
If you fall into this category, don’t despair. There is a lot of support out there for mother’s who may need some help in establishing breastfeeding with their newborn, and there a lot of ways you can increase your milk supply if you are determined to breastfeed.
What Are The Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby?
There’s a whole host of reasons why breastfeeding is best for the baby. The mothers who refer to breastmilk as ‘liquid gold’ are not exaggerating, apparently! Breast milk possesses the amazing ability to adapt to the needs of the baby and whilst people may think it’s unusual to breastfeed in this age, 75% of women in the UK decide to initially breastfeed.
A lot of women don’t realise that this will actually help them to form a strong bond and attachment with their newborn, and it provides the baby with a strong emotional connection to the mother. As you can breastfeed on demand and there is no preparation needed, the baby can get milk as and when they need it.
Not only does breastfeeding provide exclusive benefits for the baby it also provides numerous benefits for the mother and generally, the longer the baby is breastfed, the longer these benefits will last.
The milk is perfectly formulated for the baby, containing the optimum nutrients, calories & fluid content at the perfect temperature. It is easily digestible and what really sets this apart from formula is the fact that it contains antibodies from the mother which provide the newborn with valuable immunity against bacterial infections and various other diseases (almost like giving your baby a headstart with regards to their immune system).
The milk also contains growth factors which help boost your babies growth and promotes the ideal development of your little ones organs. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from allergic conditions, and studies have shown that prolonged and consistent breastfeeding can significantly improve your babies’ cognitive function. This may firstly be due to the increased bonding time with the mother, allowing the child to have a strong emotional basis to learn about the world, and secondly (and perhaps more prominently), it could be due to the abundant fatty acid content in the milk.
Wait, not finished yet! There are also other health advantages you provide your baby with when you decide to opt for breastfeeding. Exclusively (and even partially) breastfed babies have a lower risk of ear infections, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), childhood cancer (leukaemia), diarrhoea, various infections, and diabetes later in life as well as cardivascular diseases.
The milk of the mother contains lower levels of insulin and also contains leptin which is a hormone involved with making you feel full (so you are less likely to overeat). Children that were breastfed tend to be able to gauge fullness more effectively, hence tend to eat to fulfil hunger, and not to over indulge, and so are less likely to be obese from this angle too.
Obesity is one of the main contributing factors to developing cardiovascular disease, hence by breastfeeding your baby you are also encouraging healthier eating habits as they are growing older, whilst cutting the likelihood of them suffering from high cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.
Article continues below, after this infographic:
Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for The Mother
Have I yet convinced you that breastfeeding is indeed best for the baby? Not quite? Well how about if I tell you that it also provides you with a plethora of spectacular health benefits?
Are you concerned about bouncing back to your pre pregnancy size after the baby is born? Well, breastfeeding helps with post-partum weight loss and prevents obesity, as well as lowering the risk of you developing osteoporosis. It cuts your chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease and can reduce the likelihood of getting breast and ovarian cancer. Studies show that women who breastfed for more than one year had a significantly less incidence of breast cancer. Furthermore, another study stated that women who reported breastfeeding their infants were found to have a 22% reduced risk of ovarian cancer.
In addition to all this, it promotes the uterus to return back to pre pregnancy size and delays your period from resuming, retaining more iron in your body and subsequently boosting your energy. Studies suggest that it can also reduce the incidence of postpartum depression and can help you deal positively with stress.
Breast Really IS Best…
All in all, not only does breastfeeding help you to connect with the your baby, but it also provides a multitude of health advantages to both you and your baby, giving you the easiest transition into motherhood, and the baby the most robust and healthy start in life.
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