Breastfeeding – Overview
Motherhood is a wonderful experience. From the day you know you are expecting, you weave a plethora of dreams around your yet-to-be-born baby. And, then finally, you feel the exhilaration of holding your bundle of joy in your arms. It is quite common for would-be parents, especially moms to have millions of questions regarding impending motherhood and first among which would be the benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mom
You might feel nervous at times regarding the decisions you need to make as there will be endless advice flowing from all around you.
Breastfeeding is one of the most crucial aspects of motherhood, and many new moms struggle with its nuances. Whether it’s good to breastfeed the newborn, what’s the right way to do so, how frequent it should be, is the baby properly fed, is the breast milk enough for the newborn are some of the most common questions that may keep new moms awake at night. Thus, we have jotted down all you need to know about breastfeeding as well as the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and the mother.
The Importance of Breastfeeding
Were you thinking about not breastfeeding your newborn baby? Then, here are some eye-opening facts that you must be aware of.
American Association of Pediatrics and WHO recommends breastfeeding for at least 6 months from the baby’s birth and this is substantially backed by scientific research, studies and evidence.
Here Are Some Of The Key Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Baby
From the nutrition point of view, breast milk has been proven to possess everything a baby needs for the first 6 months of life. The initial phase contains colostrum, which is high in protein, low in sugar, and rich in other essential nutritional compounds. The best thing about breast milk is that its composition varies based on the evolving need of the baby. So, as a new mom, you may rest your worries about your baby’s nutrition quotient.
Rich in Antibodies
We all know the importance of antibodies in the optimal functioning of the body, and overall well-being. Antibodies play an even more pivotal role for the newborns as they keep the baby safe from bacteria, and viruses, which is highly crucial in the early months. Colostrum, the first breast milk is known to be highly rich in immunoglobulin A (IgA), which helps form a protective shield in the baby’s nose, throat, and digestive system, which is essential for keeping diarrhoea, pneumonia, and several infections at bay.
Protection Against Health Ailments
Newborns are susceptible to a wide range of health ailments as their immunity usually runs low, and their body organs are yet to grow into perfection. Studies cite that breastfeeding helps newborns less susceptible to middle ear infections, common colds, cough, respiratory infections, intestinal tissue damage, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), allergies, infant diabetes, childhood leukaemia, and bowel diseases.
Promotes Healthy Weight and Cognitive Function
As a mom, it’s common for you to stay worried about the baby’s nutrition levels. You might be skeptical about whether your breast milk is enough for your baby or not, complete with all nutritional compounds, breast milk is known to promote a healthy weight in babies.
Babies who are breastfed are likely to develop healthy feeding patterns and are less prone to childhood obesity. Breast milk is known to contain leptin, a key hormone that regulates appetite, and fat storage in newborns.
Besides, several studies indicate that breastfed babies have better IQ, and are less likely to develop behavioural problems as they develop quite an emotional bond with their moms during the feeding sessions.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms
Many women out there might hesitate to breastfeed their babies due to several reasons. Here are some of the key reasons.
- Babies have sensitive guts. Thus, new moms have to adopt a healthy lifestyle and must be judicious about what they consume. This might be challenging for some moms.
- Breastfeeding requires a certain amount of decorum, privacy, and modesty, which might not be possible all the time. This may discourage the new moms.
- Breastfeeding can be exclusively done by the moms. So, there is no way your partner can lend you a hand. This may restrict your freedom. Besides, breastfeeding at the beginning may be painful, tiresome, and emotionally exhausting, especially the nighttime feeding routines.
Well, motherhood has its own sweet and sour moments. No matter how many challenges are there, there are immense benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby.
Substantial weight gain during pregnancy as well as post-delivery is common for most women. While some may bounce back to their previous self quite easily, some women have a tough time at it. Breastfeeding helps new moms healthily lose weight as it burns calories efficiently.
Helps in Uterus Contraction
Breastfeeding is known to promote oxytocin secretion in the body, which is known to help in the involution process, the contraction of the uterus post-childbirth. It may also restrict excessive bleeding post-delivery.
PPD or postpartum depression is quite a common occurrence for new moms. No matter how prepared you are, giving birth and taking care of a newborn 24/7 is a physically and emotionally exhausting journey. However, breastfeeding may help new moms to keep PPD at bay as it helps new moms develop a bond with their baby.
Breastfeeding may also make new moms less prone to high BP, high blood fats, arthritis, heart diseases, and Type 2 diabetes. It may also delay menstrual cycles after childbirth, which may come as a relief to the new mons. Besides, breastfeeding is a highly recommended, convenient, cost-effective measure.
Breastfeeding Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Despite being aware of the numerous benefits of breastfeeding for mom, and the baby, several new moms may refrain from it. There could be many reasons; some might have difficulty feeding the baby, some may struggle with inadequate breast milk production; in some cases, the infant might not be able to latch properly or suck milk sufficiently. These challenges can be overcome by opting for breast pumps, which are medically recommended tools that imitate a baby’s natural suction and helps moms pump breast milk for their babies in an easy, quick, and hassle-free manner.
Got more questions on breastfeeding? Check with your medical specialist today!