by Jennifer Shakeel
As a mamma to be you have probably thought whether or not you should breastfeed your newborn. There isn’t a mom in the world that does not know that when it comes to providing the best for your baby, then you should consider breastfeeding your child. Breastfeeding is scientifically proven to have many benefits for both infants and mothers. It is estimated that breast milk contains one hundred ingredients not found in formula. Breast milk is so nutritious that virtually all a baby’s organs benefit from it. I know, there are some formulas that boost they are the next best thing to breast milk… but when it comes to the health of your baby, is the next best thing really all you want to give?
Firstly, breastfeeding an infant fortifies his immune system, which is still largely undeveloped. According to scientists who study breast-feeding, babies who have been breast-fed have fewer cases of diarrhea, constipation, ear infections, and allergies. Furthermore, the mysterious Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is less common among breast-fed babies.
Breastfeeding may also help stimulate brain development in babies. It is estimated that children who have been breastfed have higher IQs of at least eight points than formula-fed children. Breast milk also continually evolves as the infant matures, containing different amounts of different nutrients as the baby reaches newer developmental stages. Because breast milk is human milk, rather than artificial milk, it contains the exact amounts of amino acids, fats, water, and carbohydrates that best nurture a baby. It is also at a warm temperature, which often promotes better sleep.
Breast milk does not contain toxins and other environmentally harmful substances because it comes directly from the breast, rather than a bottle. In fact, dirty formula bottles and contaminated water account for many cases of infant infection.
No baby is ever allergic to its mother’s milk. Conversely, so many babies are allergic to formulas that parents often purchase various formulas until they find the right one. Even if a mother falls ill, her breast milk is unaffected—in fact, it contains antibodies for that same illness so the baby gains greater immunity.
Breastfeeding is also good for an infant’s oral development. The sucking motion required of breastfeeding promotes healthy dental and speech development. A breast-feeding baby learns to control the flow of milk. On the other hand, a formula-feeding baby must constantly and passively suck, often drinking too much and upsetting its stomach.
Babies gain deep emotional satisfaction from breastfeeding because they enjoy the close bond with their mothers. They feel warm and secure, and often sleep more soundly as a result. The cuddling during breast-feeding is also essential for their healthy emotional development, as babies suffer immensely if they do not physically touch other people.
The baby is not the only one who benefits from breastfeeding. His or her mother benefits in equal measure. When mothers breast-feed, they experience one of the deepest personal bonds between two people. Moreover, they can take heart that their breast milk is clean, nutritious, and soothing for their infant. They can also rest easy that they are paying no money to breast-feed their infants, rather than shelling out thousands of dollars per year for formula.
Breastfeeding also helps mothers regain their pre-pregnancy shape. Breast-feeding burns about 20 calories per ounce of milk produced, which means that a mother who feeds her baby 8 ounces of milk burns 160 calories. Furthermore, lactation prompts a mother’s uterus to shrink.
There are very few caveats to breastfeeding. Mothers, who have certain diseases, including AIDS, should not breastfeed their babies. Women who are small-breasted need not fear they cannot nurse their babies—breast size has little effect on breastfeeding capability except that a small-breasted woman may need to nurse her baby more often than a large-breasted woman. Or you could be like me, where I was able to breast feed my first two children and then due to a surgery I had to have in order to have feeling in my arms, I could not nurse our most recent baby. While breast feeding is the best option for any newborn, there are times… certain circumstances that make breast feeding impossible or not in the best interest of the baby, in those cases the best thing you can do is choose the best formula.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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