What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?
Parents tend to want to do what is best for their children, including breastfeeding their infants. While it can be uncomfortable to do in a public setting, the bond between child and mother grows tremendously when the baby eats from its mother's breast. In addition to strengthening the bond between parent and child, there are many medical benefits associated with breastfeeding. Discover now some of the medical benefits of breastfeeding your baby, such as:
- protection against gastrointestinal trouble
- protection against allergies
- increased intelligence in the child
Research studies have found that the first milk your body produces contains immune factors that guard against germs by forming a protective lining on your baby's mucous membranes in the intestines, throat, and nose. This is why it is important for a mother to start nursing her child directly after birth.
Breastfeeding your baby helps protect your infant child from gastrointestinal trouble as well as respiratory problems and ear infections. Many research studies have been conducted around the world and have concluded fewer diarrheas, less ear infections, and fewer respiratory illnesses in children who have been breastfed. Women involved in the research studies breastfed their babies exclusively for at least the first six months. This means the baby consumed breast milk only, no solid food.
Many research studies have also found that breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months can reduce the chances of the child developing allergies. At least one research study has proven that this lasts up into the age of adolescence. Breastfed babies are also at less risk of developing asthma up to the average age of 6.
In addition to the above research studies, other studies have been conducted and have found possible links between breastfeeding and the child's IQ. In these research studies, people who had been breastfed for at least the first six months of their lives scored higher on IQ tests. Experts have said that the emotional bonding associated with breastfeeding may be a key factor in this, but that fatty acids in breast milk just may play the larger role in a baby's brain development.
There are many other health benefits associated with breastfeeding your baby. Some of these benefits include:
- prevention of obesity in your child later in life
- lower your baby's risk of SIDS
- prevention of childhood leukemia
While breastfeeding is not always a viable option, when it can be done, it can be beneficial to both mother and child. Not only is the bonding experience incredible, but the health benefits associated with breast feeding are numerous. Whenever the option is viable, a mother should consider breast feeding her child, because it is best for both mother and child.
As the old saying goes….breast fed is best fed!