Breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients to help your infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. It may also help your health. Certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies.
Women who don’t have health problems should try to give their babies breast milk for at least the first six months of life. Most women with health problems can breastfeed. There are rare exceptions when women are advised not to breastfeed because they have certain illnesses. Some medicines, illegal drugs, and alcohol can also pass through the breast milk and cause harm to your baby. Check with your health care provider if you have concerns about whether you should breastfeed.
Advantages Of Breastfeeding:
Nowadays, many mothers are opting for breastfeeding due to its various benefits for their babies as well for themselves. What’s good for your baby is good for you too and when you follow nature’s course for feeding, you benefit your body too.
Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.
Breastfeed Benefits for mother and baby:
- Breast milk gives ideal nutrition to your baby as it contains the right balance of protein, fat, carbohydrate, minerals, and vitamins.
- Babies who are breastfed have three times fewer issues of diarrhea than those who are formula-fed.
Fewer Ear infections:
- There are increased chances of ear-infections in babies who take formula and they may also encounter recurrent ear-infections.
Reduced Risk of SIDS:
- Researchers have revealed that there are fewer chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies who are breastfed.
Reduced Respiratory Illnesses:
- There are fewer cases of respiratory problems in a baby who is breastfed, while it is more commonly found in those who are on a formula feed.
Best Development of Brain:
- It is also established through studies that babies who are breastfed have good IQ.
Bonding With Mother:
- Breastfeeding enhances closeness and comfort.
Reduced Risk Of Childhood Cancer:
- Studies show that babies who are breastfed have reduced the risk of childhood cancer which may happen less than 15 years of age.
Reduced Heart Diseases:
- There are fewer cases of developing higher blood pressure in babies who consume their mother’s feed.
Reduces Risk Of Breast Cancers:
There are studies which show that women who feed their babies encounter reduced rates of breast cancer later in their life.
- Breastfeeding helps prevent weak bones later in life and this risk is four times higher in non-breastfeeding women.
Reduced Risk Of Ovarian Cancer:
- Breastfeeding mothers have a fewer risk of ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding During Pregnancy:
It is generally considered safe, there are some cases where weaning may be advisable:
- If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are at risk for preterm labor
- If you are carrying twins
- If you have been advised to avoid sex while pregnant
- If you are having bleeding or uterine pain.
Another important aspect to consider is whether your older child is ready to wean. Factors affecting this include your child’s personality, age, and nursing patterns, as well as your child’s psychological and physical response to your pregnancy.
It is common for a mother’s milk supply to lessen during the fourth and fifth months of pregnancy. This can cause changes in the milk and may make your milk distasteful to your child. For this reason, your infant may be ready to wean earlier than you anticipated. On the other hand, your infant may be attached to breastfeeding and not ready to wean.
During pregnancy, the mature milk is also making a gradual change to the colostrum which is present at birth. The decrease in milk production usually occurs despite continued or increased nursing frequency, although a minority of pregnant mothers do not experience a decrease in milk supply.
The issue of miscarriage:
Miscarriage is because oxytocin, the hormone released during breastfeeding that stimulates contractions, is usually released in such a small amount during breastfeeding that is not enough to cause preterm labor. Such contractions are also harmless to the fetus and rarely increase the chances of having a miscarriage.
No research has found any links between breastfeeding during pregnancy and preterm labor. One such research that was published in Journal of Nursing Research studied such a possibility. Two groups of 320 expecting women were made during an experiment. In one group, the mom breastfed their children for around 30 days during their pregnancy, the moms in the other group didn’t. The study found no difference in the rates of full-term or preterm babies in both groups. Apparently, they found no effect on the birth weight of the newborn of mothers who breastfed their elder child.