Parenting can be quite challenging for new parents, especially during the initial days after birth. Right after delivery, both mother and the baby are very sensitive and require proper care and attention. There is a special need of balanced nutrition and care for the newborn. It is essential to know the main responsibilities and be aware of things such as breastfeeding and it's benefits. While breastfeeding, milk ducts carry milk from deep within the breast to the nipples. Breastfeeding is a natural aid for babies, even if they are cranky or hungry. Breastfeeding can also comfort and relax your infant. Breastfeeding, which is also known as nursing is when you feed milk to your baby directly from your breast. Breast milk provides a lot of easily absorbing nutrients, antioxidants and antibodies from mother to the baby.
A breastfed child is at a reduced risk of getting any infections such as allergies, ear infections and respiratory infections. Moreover, the mother also benefits a lot by breastfeeding like less risk of developing breast cancer, bond with the child, etc. The decision of breastfeeding your own baby is a personal choice and most of the mothers prefer doing so. Some experts suggest mother's to go for breastfeeding milk to their baby while some advice otherwise. Mothers should take care of their diet if they are breastfeeding, especially for the first six months. It is recommended to continue breastfeeding the infant atleast for the first year. The mother also has to read the baby's feeling and needs about the frequency of feeding. Newborns mostly want to get feed every 2-3 hours. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Anjana Singh, Director & Head, Obstetrics And Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Noida, about the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and infant. Read the articles further to know details about this.
Breastfeeding benefits for mother
Breastfeeding burns extra calories, helping the mother to lose the gained pregnancy weight. New mothers don't know everything about breastfeeding. You can take a breastfeeding class to know details about this process. In fact, you also need to get nursing bras and other useful items. To help you out, here are breastfeeding benefits for mother:
1. Faster weight loss
It is a common fact that nursing or breastfeeding mothers burn more calories each day than mothers who dont. Many researches prove that breastfeeding mothers lose pregnancy weight faster as compared to moms who don't chose breastfeeding their baby. It is somewhat similar to losing weight from a 45-60 minutes physical workout.
2. Reduces the risk of cancer
Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. According to a study, it was found that for every 12 months a woman breastfed, the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer reduced by 4.3%. It was basically a comparison between the mothers who breastfed and those who didn't. Therefore, this is another huge benefit for a breastfeeding mother.
3. Emotionally healthy
Breastfeeding has a positive effect on both mother and the baby. The mother might feel emotionally healthy and happy. The hormonal changes may also come in control if you are breastfeeding. It reduces stress levels and acts as a mood booster for the breastfeeding mother.
Instead of heating market bought milk and checking the temperature again and again, it is far more convenient to breastfeed your baby. Moreover, if you are breastfeeding, you can take your baby anywhere as your breast milk will always be ready for the baby. On the other hand, the situation is opposite with bottled milk and can be difficult as compared to breastfeeding.
5. Strong bond between mother and child
Breastfeeding also helps the mother I'm developing a strong and deep bond with the newborn. The main reason behind this is that the mother and baby experience skin to skin contact more than the moms who don't breastfeed. So, skin to skin contact increases the levels of oxytocin in both mom and the infant, which results in a spike in positive hormones.
Breastfeeding benefits for baby
One of the most common signs of your baby's hunger is to cry. A mother has to take care of many things while breastfeeding her newborn and that includes taking care of her own diet and nutrient intake. The baby gets all the those nutrients for initial growth and development which is very important. Here are the breastfeeding benefits for baby:
1. Makes the immune system stronger
The first form of milk colostrum helps in making the immunity of the baby stronger. Mother’s more mature immune system makes antibodies to the germs to which she and her baby have been exposed. These antibodies enter her milk to help protect her baby from several diseases.
2. Lesser chances of diarrhea and constipation
Breastfed babies have lesser chances of getting constipated or lose motions than mothers who don't breastfeed their babies. Breast milk is easier to digest and is full of nutrients. Formula powdered milk can cause such digestive issues in the infant.
Dr. Anjana said, "For the first three days, the discharge from the milk, that is also called colostrum, a thick yellow fluid, which is rich in antibodies and has the right amount of sugar and proteins." After the first few days, the breasts starts producing larger amounts of milk as the baby’s stomach grows.
4. Appropriate temperature and easily digestible
Another benefit for breastfed babies is that the breast milk is of the appropriate temperature and easily digestible. The mother feels comfortable in feeding anywhere as the milk is ready and the baby gets milk with the right temperature anytime he/she is hungry.
5. Fewer illnesses
Another benefit of breastfeeding your baby is that he/she may be at a lower risk of getting affected by illnesses like cold, cough, pneumonia and other problems. Breast milk provides all the important proteins and minerals that make the baby's immune system stronger, thus getting less infections and illnesses.
These were the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and infant by Dr. Anjana Singh. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends breastfeeding atleast until the infant is 2 years old, because it leaves long term as well as short term benefits. Breast milk has all the nutrients that a baby needs for the first 6 months of life, in the appropriate quantities. Therefore, the decision to breastfeed totally depends upon you but it will be easier to make an informed decision if you are aware about these benefits.
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