Why Is Breastfeeding Important
Although breastfeeding is a subject that friends and family like to self-importantly express their opinions on (as most mothers find out the hard way pretty early on), it remains a decision for a mother to make.
But, even though it’s a perfectly natural process, it can be quite challenging.
Some mothers have an inconsistent milk supply, some don’t have milk at all. Some babies refuse to latch or get used to nursing. These and a variety of different challenges related to breastfeeding make us all incredibly thankful for the availability of baby formula
and breast pumps
- especially working mothers if we might add.
But every mother and child are unique, and the decision is up to you. This overview might help you decide.
Breastfeeding Keeps Your Little One Healthy
Breastfeeding is absolutely beneficial for your baby, so much so, in fact, that most medical experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby’s life, including the FDA
. No water, no juice, no formula.
Now let’s see why:
It provides all the essential nutrients for a baby’s growth and development, in the necessary proportions
Breast milk contains the perfect ratio of easily digestible vitamins, protein, and fat - and those three are essential for a baby’s development in its first year of life.
It protects against sickness and allergies
Breast milk is ideal for your baby’s immune system, as it contains antibodies that are essential for fighting off viruses and bacteria. On the other, babies who’ve been fed formula based on soy or cow's milk have a higher chance of developing or suffering from allergic reactions than babies who’ve been breasted.
It may lower the risk of childhood obesity and it helps your baby achieve its ideal weight
Your baby can ingest breast milk easily, without experiencing constipation or diarrhea
Breast milk is obviously the ideal food for babies, as nature designed it. It’s been associated with a healthier microbiome in adults and a healthier metabolism.
It plays a role in the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The FDA has associated breastfeeding with a 36% reduction in the chances of SIDS.
Nursing is the perfect bonding experience between parent and child
The physical closeness is reassuring to your baby and it makes it feel secure. As one of the drawbacks to breastfeeding is the fact that the mother needs to remain attached to her child 24/7 during the first few months of its life, even in circumstances when she is unable to or has to provide for her family. But nowadays, breast pumping might be the perfect way to get the best of both worlds - and it allows the father to also feel this connection to his child as well.
Overall, breastfeeding might mean fewer trips to the doctor
Breastfeeding has been associated with reduced infection, shorter hospital stays, and fewer reasons to visit the doctor - as it is the ideal food to battle the most common health challenges babies face.
Are There Benefits for Mothers?
- It lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as Type II diabetes
- Helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size
- It saves money
- Breastfeeding can reduce your stress level and your risk of postpartum depression
- It doesn’t produce environmental waste
More on the Subject of Breastfeeding:
- Find out how to deal with the most common challenges of breastfeeding in our Breastfeeding Guide to New Mothers and our article on Sore Nipples After Breastfeeding:Prevention & Treatment
- Have you considered giving breast pumping a try? Find out what are the benefits, how to choose a breast pump and breast pump accessories and pick up the most important tips on pumping.
So, conclusion? Just remember: yes, breastfeeding is natural, but it’s by no means easy. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor (or a lactation consultant) if you stumble and need support.