All new mothers want to do what is best for their baby, especially feeding their baby food that will protect them from illness and help them thrive. More than 20 years of research has proven that breast milk is the best food to feed a baby—it is perfectly suited to nourish and project babies from illness. Your body makes the perfect food your baby needs in the right amount at the right temperature. Babies should be breastfed for 6 months to a year. There are no recommendations on how long moms should breast feed.
Here are some of the many benefits your breast milk gives your baby:
- Breast milk made in the first few hours after child birth is very healthy for the baby as it helps your baby’s immune system to protect your baby. It helps fight various diseases and illnesses thereby cutting down on hospital and doctor visits.
- Breast milk helps your baby grow strong and healthy with fewer minor illnesses like colds, ear aches, allergies, eczema, or asthma because mother’s milk has antibodies that are passed from mom to her baby through her milk.
- Breast milk is easer to digest than formula. Therefore your baby won’t suffer from colic, diarrhea, or constipation. Your baby’s diapers will even have very little odor.
- Breast milk is always sterile.
- As the amount of milk your baby needs increases, the amount of breast milk your body produces will increase.
- Breastfeeding has psychological benefits as it offers a special way for mother and baby to bond. Your baby feels the warmth and closeness of its mother and feels wanted and loved. Your baby learns your smell and voice and begins to learn that she is in a safe place.
Though you might think breastfeeding is only beneficial for your baby, it benefits mother too:
- Breastfeeding helps the mother lose extra weight. Breastfeeding uses an extra 500 calories each day.
- Breastfeeding helps the uterus too return to its normal, pre-pregnancy size more quickly.
- Unlike formula, breast milk doesn’t need to be mixed, measured, heated, sterilized or refrigerated. There is no need to wash, dry and store bottles and nipples. Breast milk is readily available and is custom made just for your baby!
- When your baby needs to be fed at night, breast milk is easily accessible.
- If you breastfeed, going out can be quicker and with fewer hassles since you don’t need to carry bottles, formula, or find a place to heat the bottle. Breast milk is always with you at the right and at the right temperature!
- Breastfeeding saves money.
- When your baby needs to be breastfed, the mother feels wanted and gets a feeling of satisfaction. Breast milk is a gift, which not everyone is blessed with. Breastfeeding makes a mother feels good about being able to provide for her baby.
- Breastfeeding helps the mother and baby bond more quickly and helps build an emotional bond between mother and baby.
These are just a few of the reasons breastfeeding is beneficial to both mother and baby. If you’re not sure if you want to breastfeed, even if you only try breastfeeding for a few days or weeks it will give your baby much needed antibodies. Even if you try breastfeeding for only a few days or weeks it will give your baby much needed antibodies. If you need help getting your baby to latch on or just moral support, most hospitals have a lactation consultant that you call call for help and advice. Also, you can visit the website of the La Leche League, a national support organization for breastfeeding mothers. Their website is www.lalecheleague.org. With these great reasons to breast feed, hopefully more mothers will choose breastfeeding over formula.
See this page for more information about Caring for your Newborn. For more about feeding your newborn.