Doctors, all across the globe recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months after birth. It is also encouraged beyond that, until at least 12 months, and longer if both the mother and baby are willing. Breastfeeding has several benefits for both the mother and the baby. Following are some aspects on why mothers should opt for exclusive breastfeeding:
The “Perfect Food”: The breast milk is composed of lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat, that are easily digested by a newborn. It is seldom observed, that breastfed infants have less difficulty with digestion than formula-fed infants and have fewer bouts of diarrhea or constipation. Breast milk also contains many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires.
Taste Development: Lactating motherseat a wide variety of well-balanced foods to meet their nutrient requirements. This introduces breastfed babies to different tastes through their mothers’ breast milk, which has different flavors depending on what their mothers have eaten. Breastfed infants accept solid foods more easily.
Boosts Immunity: The breast milk helps in boosting the immunity of newborns against a wide range of infections both respiratory and intestinal infections. The antibodies that fight against such infections are transferred by the mother to the baby via the breast milk. This protection lasts till several early childhood years. Breast fed babies are also less likely to have coronary artery diseases in adult life.
Bonding: While breastfeeding the mother holds the baby and share a physical bond. This helps in bonding between the baby and mother which is very important for the psychological development of the baby. Some studies suggest that children who were exclusively breastfed have slightly higher IQs, than children who were formula fed.
Convenience: Breastfeeding is much more convenient as compared to formula feed. The baby needs to be fed day and night ample number of time and breast milk is always fresh and can be availed anywhere, whether you are at home or not, without any last-minute rush to the store for more formula, or the pain of preparing the formula in correct proportions. Moreover, there’s no need to wash bottles and nipples or warm up bottles in the middle of the night.