There are numerous benefits of breast milk. Today we will talk about all the benefits of breastfeeding, Advantages of breastmilk and why it is called as liquid gold?
Breastfeeding exclusively for first six months of a baby is recommended by various organizations including World Health Organization (WHO), American Academy of Pediatrics and American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Exclusively breastfeeding means no supplementary foods or fluids including water, juice and pre-lacteal feed. After 6 months, breastfeeding is continued for upto 2 years, with the addition of fruits, vegetables and family food.
“Breastfeeding has many benefits. However, the breastfeeding journey is different for everyone. Some women face some initial issues, while some face it later and for some it is smooth and natural. Mothers should not hesitate to ask for help if needed,” says Dr Kavita Singh, Lactation expert and physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Patparganj, New Delhi.
According to Dr Singh, following are some advantages of breastfeeding for the baby.
Your breast milk is genetically specific for your baby, and it meets perfectly for your baby’s need.
It is the right balance of proteins, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, antioxidant, enzymes and minerals etc. This perfect combination provide your baby everything they need to grow and thrive.
Your breastmilk changes as your baby’s needs change. In the first three months, breastmilk has more fat and less water. After three months, it has more water and less fat.
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Breastmilk is always sterile and always at the right temperature.
Babies who are breastfed have less malnutrition and lesser rates of infant mortality.
Babies don’t need any additional water when breastfeeding because breastmilk is perfect. However, it is recommended to supplement your baby with vitamin D drops while breastfeeding.
Breast milk contains antibodies, which protect your baby from illness. It also contains immunoglobulin A (IgA), which coats the intestine of the baby to protect it from any digestive tract infection. IgA also protects the baby from any allergens and infections to enter into the blood stream. Additionally when the mother is ill, she makes the antibodies in her body which passes through the breastmilk and immune the baby from that illness.
Breastfed babies face fewer tummy troubles. This is because breastmilk is easy to digest by the baby. It is a natural food for the baby. Babies also able to digest the milk with ease and this reduces the incidence of diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, gastroesophageal reflux or GERD, Gastroenteritis, gut infection, thrush and diaper rash.
Breastmilk also helps to protect premature babies from life threatening condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). This is the infection of the intestinal lining that leads to sever inflammation and ultimately causes pieces of intestine to die. This requires babies to undergo surgery to correct this. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of NEC infection by up to 60 percent. Breastmilk is looked at as a medical treatment for the premature babies, rather than just nutritional food. And premature babies who are breastfed, get discharged to home faster from the NICU.
Apart from this, there are lots of other benefits as well like less dental issues, lesser chances of obesity and lesser chances of speech delay. Finally studies have shown that breastfeeding makes vaccines more effective.