Doctors recommend exclusive Breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. Breastfeeding provides several benefits to the mother and the child. Since Breast Milk is a unique combination of nutrients, it helps the baby to fight against various infections. The physical closeness and eye contact between the mother and the infant generates feelings of emotional bonding and security.
Benefits to the Infant
Following are the benefits which the infant derives from Breast Milk:
- It is easily digestible by the baby and hence Breastfed babies are rarely constipated
- It is the perfect mix of Vitamins, Fat, Protein, Minerals, Enzymes, & Sugar, and provides the ideal nutrition to the infant.
- It reduces the risk of occurrence of Allergic Reactions, such as, Asthma and Eczema
- Presence of Antibodies in Breast Milk equips the baby to fight viruses and bacteria
- Antibodies in Breast Milk also help in protecting the baby from illnesses, such as, Cold, Gastroenteritis, Urinary Infections, Ear Infections, Respiratory Illnesses, Diarrhea, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
- Breastfeeding helps in maintaining the body temperature of the baby
- Insulin present in Breast Milk helps in creating fat which makes it easier for the baby to gain weight.
- Fatty Acids present in Breast Milk are imperative for the Brain Development of the baby
- Breast Milk is extremely essential for Low-Birth Weight babies and Premature babies
- Stool of Breast-Fed babies is mild smelling
- Breastfeeding during or post Immunization may help in soothing the baby
Benefits to the Child in Early Years of Life
Breastfeeding provides the following benefits during childhood:
- Breast-fed babies are less likely to contract serious illnesses, such as, Juvenile Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Heart Disease, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and Leukemia
- Breast-fed children have higher IQ scores
- Breastfeeding aids in strengthening the Immune System and helps in improving the normal immune response to certain vaccines
Dr. Babita Jain, Senior Consultant & HOD Paediatrics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Gurgaon, encourages breastfeeding, and clears out some breastfeeding and baby related myths. She also mentions the necessary vaccines the baby should get in intervals.
Benefits to the Child in Later Years
A Breast-fed child derives benefits of Breastfeeding even as he grows older:
- Breast-fed children have fewer Dental Cavities throughout their lives. This is possible because of the unique sucking action required during Breastfeeding.
- Exposure to Cholesterol and Asthma is relatively less for Breast-fed children
- Breast-fed girls are at a lesser risk of Breast Cancer
- Breast-fed children are less likely to become obese.
- Breastfeeding induces Cognitive Development and children may develop fewer Psychological, Behavioral, and Learning Issues.