The human body is an absolute wonder. What it can do in a minute, an hour, a day and a lifetime are truly remarkable. In fact, its abilities are so astounding that for us ‘common’ folk, sometimes its capabilities are too complex to fully comprehend and appreciate.
Take breast milk for instance. The fact that a woman’s body can produce a nutritional supplement (we like to call it liquid gold), which exits the body at the perfect temperature, with the correct amount of nutrients, enzymes, antibodies, hormones and living cells needed by a baby from the day he or she is born is nothing short of a miracle.
Although it’s true that for many moms there are multiple factors that go into the decision to breastfeed – lifestyle, health, finances, personal preference – most moms agree that breastfeeding is the most beneficial for a baby. There is nothing more natural or pure for your child as your own milk.
The benefits of breastfeeding start with the first feed, continue until the day the infant is weaned and throughout his or her life. These benefits include:
Full of the good stuff!
* Colostrum – This is a potent liquid that is secreted during the first feeds and is believed to be THE most important ‘milk’ for your baby. It has a high concentration of antibodies and also acts as a gentle laxative in order to clear the baby’s intestine and decrease the chance of jaundice.
* Superfood – breast milk is a superfood as it protects against disease and infections throughout an individual’s life. It also provides a defence against many childhood illnesses such as types of meningitis, childhood cancers, ear infection and pneumonia. In addition, it protects against food allergies and eczema early in life.
* Brain Power – Breast milk is believed to supports brain development.
* Digestion enhancer – This superfood is easily digested which given a baby’s sensitive (and sometimes underdeveloped) digestive system is highly beneficial. It also encourages the growth of probiotics and “good bacteria” in the digestive tract which
* Breast milk is clean, sterile and exits the body at the perfect temperature for a baby. It’s the perfect on-the-go meal for your kid!
Limitless additional benefits
* Breastfeeding lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and increases the effectiveness of immunisations.
* While feeding at your breast, your baby’s sucking action strengthens oral muscles, facial bones, and supports good dental development.
* Breastfeeding has shown to prevent childhood obesity and lower a child’s risk of developing diabetes in adulthood.
As already mentioned, the benefits of breastfeeding don’t start and end with the baby. It has amazing perks for moms too! Ask any mom who has breastfed, and she will tell you that during the first feeds she could feel her organs, that naturally stretched during pregnancy and childbirth, contract. It has been proven that breastfeeding helps the body heal faster after birth and helps avoid severe postpartum bleeding. Other benefits for moms include:
* It burns additional calories and in turn helps moms return to their pre-pregnancy weight quicker.
* It offers a menstrual vacation! Women who breastfeed exclusively around the clock will have delayed ovulation, which means delayed menstruation (can we hear a Whoop Whoop!).
* Assists in strengthening bones later in life.
* Helps build a strong emotional bond between moms and their babies. It also encourages the production of oxytocin in the mother, which is a bonding hormone that has a calming and relaxing effect.
* Helps save money! It is absolutely free so helps the budget (which normally takes a knock during this time).
* Aids in the prevention of certain female diseases such as osteoporosis, breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers.