As a new mother, one of your first nurturing acts is feeding your baby. For many women, this means breastfeeding. If you’re considering breastfeeding over alternative methods of feeding, here are 5 benefits of breastfeeding for you to consider.
1. Breast Milk Contains Antibodies
Colostrum, which is the first milk your body produces after giving birth, is rich in antibodies, proteins, and fat-soluble vitamins which provides the baby with passive immunity. This immunity helps the baby fight off infections and protects them from a variety of viral and bacterial illnesses.
The milk is either creamy or yellowish in color and is much thicker than the milk your body will produce later on. It usually lasts for several days after giving birth, so make sure you take advantage of it to protect your infant.
This milk will be replaced by transitional milk and finally mature breast milk, all of which contain vital nutrients to help your baby develop and grow.
2. Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID)
Among the top benefits of breastfeeding infants is the fact that it lowers the risk of newborn deaths. According to data the protective qualities of colostrum reduce the probability of SID, especially in the first couple of months which is when it usually occurs.
Through regular breastfeeding, the mother is able to constantly bolster the baby’s immunity to protect it against respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, which are the main causes of infant mortality.
3. Breastfeeding Is Linked to Higher IQ
Experts believe breastfeeding positively contributes to a child’s memory, intelligence, judgment, and even problem-solving ability as they grow up. According to research, children who were breastfed during the first couple of months had more pronounced white brain matter which is responsible for processing information and affects learning. This led scientists to believe breast milk contains nutrients that support brain development at a structural level.
4. Breastfeeding Helps You Bond With Your Baby
It promotes skin-to-skin contact which creates intimacy and bonding between the mother and the child. Other benefits of breastfeeding in this regard include: helping mothers develop a greater maternal sensitivity over time (boosting the production of hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin in the mother’s body which helps you sleep better), and supporting your baby’s physical and emotional wellness.
5. Breastfeeding Is Highly Convenient
This is among the top benefits of breastfeeding especially for new mothers. For instance, you can travel with a nursing baby anywhere without having to worry about baby formula, knowing your milk is ready whenever they are hungry. Just make sure you consume the best foods and supplements, and you’re good to go.
It’s also highly convenient in the middle of the night when the baby starts crying. You don’t have to go to the kitchen to warm up a bottle of formula. Just scoop up your baby from the bassinet and nurse them without a trip to the kitchen. This is extremely helpful, especially in the first couple of months when the demands of a new baby can overwhelming.