Wondering about the pros and cons of breastfeeding? Breast milk has many benefits for your baby, but breastfeeding can deliver perks for mothers, too.
It’s no exaggeration to say that breast milk is nature’s perfect food. Just as cow’s milk is the ideal source of nourishment for calves, and goat’s milk is the best meal for kids (of the goat variety), your breast milk is exquisitely tailored to meet the nutritional needs of a newborn baby. Here are the many advantages of breastfeeding for your little one.
Benefits of breastfeeding for babies
It’s the best nourishment.
Breast milk is designed for a new baby’s brand new digestive system. The protein and fat in your milk are easier for your baby to digest than those in cow’s milk formula, and its micronutrients are easily absorbed. And unlike formula, which is the same from feeding to feeding and can to can, the milk your body makes changes in composition in response to your baby’s needs.
It offers protection against infections.
Every time your baby nurses, he gets a healthy dose of your antibodies, which helps boost his immunity against colds, ear infections, respiratory tract infections and other common childhood illnesses. Especially during the first 6 months, your antibody-rich milk also helps protect your little one from diseases that he hasn’t yet been immunized for, like influenza and whooping cough.
It reduces the risk of SIDS.
Breastfeeding for at least two months cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by nearly 50 percent, research shows. While the reasons why aren’t fully understood, it’s thought that breastfed babies rouse from sleep more easily. The added immune protections may also play a role.
It’s easier on your baby’s tummy.
Since it’s designed for your little one’s belly, breast milk goes down easier — and stays down easier. Breastfeed newborns are far less likely to suffer from constipation or diarrhea compared to babies who drink formula. And milk that’s easier to digest translates to poops that smell (a little) better, too.
by Sara Novak