The fact that breastfeeding is best for both mother and baby is widely reported and medical staff repeatedly inform expectant parents of this. However, if you are currently expecting a baby and considering which feeding method you will choose, you will have a lot of things to think about. For example, is breastfeeding really the best option for you and if you decide to bottle-feed, then what are the best bottles for baby. If breastfeeding is an option you are considering, then you may have wondered what the benefits are. Here is an overview of how breastfeeding is beneficial to both mother and baby.
Breast milk is produced by mothers to contain exactly the right amount of nutrients that your baby needs. Your breast milk changes as your baby grows to accommodate the changing needs fo your baby at each stage of their development. On the other hand, formula milk only replicates what breast milk has to offer and often uses artificial substitutions to provide the nutrients a baby needs.
Immunity to Illnesses
When a baby is breastfed, it builds up immunity to many common illnesses. Some of these are passed from the mother who has herself built immunity against these illnesses. As a result, your baby is likely to suffer from fewer ailments in comparison to a bay who is bottle-fed.
Protects the Digestive System
Breastfeeding a newborn baby protects their digestive system and can help to prevent certain infections in this part of the body. This is particularly beneficial to premature babies who are prone to getting infections in the digestive system.
Lower Risk of Childhood Obesity
Studies show that breastfed babies are less prone to childhood obesity than babies who are bottle-fed. There are several suggested reasons for this. The first is that breast milk contains less insulin than formula milk. Secondly, breastfed babies are more likely to satisfy their hunger during a feed and this leads to healthier eating patterns in childhood. The third possible reason is that breastfed babies have a higher level of leptin in their system. This is a hormone that plays a role in the regulation of appetite and fat. Finally, babies who are fed formula usually have a higher rate of weight gain during the first few weeks of their life. Research shows that babies who have a rapid rate of weight gain from birth are more at risk of obesity in childhood.
Once a mother has given birth, she is often keen to regain her pre-baby body. Losing weight can help her to regain her confidence and feel more like herself again. However, drastically changing your eating and exercise habits during this time is a bad idea. Not only is your body recovering from the pregnancy and birth, it is also under strain from your new role as a mum and the tiredness that goes with this. Breastfeeding will help you to naturally lose weight at a realistic rate.
An appealing aspect of breastfeeding for many women is that it is free. With bottle-feeding, you need to not only buy the formula, but also lots of equipment. This includes finding and buying the best bottles for baby cleaning equipment, a sterilizer and a bottle warmer. You only need to buy this equipment for a breastfed baby if you decide to express.
Lower Risk of Postnatal Depression
Women who opt to breastfeed their baby are less likely to experience postnatal depression (PND). One suggested reason for this is that when women breastfeed, they release a hormone called oxytocin. This reduces stress levels and helps the mother to relax. It also lowers blood pressure and helps the uterus to contract quicker reducing the amount of post-partum bleeding a woman experiences.
Reduced Risk of Allergies for Babies
There is strong scientific evidence to suggest that breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of your baby suffering from allergies and a number of other conditions, including asthma and eczema. These conditions are unpleasant for your child and can have an effect on your lifestyle. To limit the chances of your child suffering from any of these conditions, it is well worth considering the option of breastfeeding.
Reduced Risk of Cancer for Mothers
Studies have shown that mothers who choose to breastfeed are reducing their risk of developing certain cancers later in life, such as breast and ovarian cancer. However, there are many other factors that impact on your likelihood of suffering from cancer.
Breastfeeding offers flexibility, so in some ways can be viewed as much easier for women. This is something that many mothers will find beneficial. You can feed your baby wherever you are and do not need to worry about packing a lot of equipment with you. You also have the option of expressing milk to bottle-feed your baby with breast milk while you are out or if you return to work. If expressing milk is something that sounds like a good option to you, then you should find out about the best bottles for baby if they are also breastfed.
The decision whether to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby is an entirely personal one and what is best for one mother and baby and another is not necessarily the same. However, it is important to take into consideration the benefits of breastfeeding to ensure you make an informed decision about what is best for you and your baby.