There are three reasons for breast feeding; the milk is always at the right temperature, it comes in attractive containers; and the cat can’t get it- Irena Chaimers.
Exclusive breastfeeding is defined as “an infant’s consumption of human milk with no supplementation of any type (no water, no juice, no nonhuman milk, and no foods) except for vitamins, minerals, and medications.
Infants should be fed exclusively for the first six months of their lives.
The benefits of breast milk to the child and the mother are numerous;
- Breastfeeding helps mother and child to bond
You already love your child when they are born, when you breast feed them, you love them more and they love you back.
“Mother and child mutually gazing into each other’s eyes, telling each other secrets with just their eyes”
It is often said that a child knows the smell of its mother, and that a mother’s breast will produce milk on its own when the child cries, no matter how far apart mother and child are.
- Breast fed children have a higher IQ than their counterparts who were never breast fed
See, breast feeding your child makes them wiser and brighter.
Breast milk contains galactose for brain development
- Breast milk is cheap, clean and gives babies an attractive smell
I do not need to overemphasize the fact that breast milk is cheap, and readily available. Any mother who has tried formula feeds will tell you how much pocket damaging they can be.
Then apart from the issue of cost, there is the other problem of water, your feeds are as clean and safe as the water you use for mixing them and the containers you use
- Breast milk protects against allergies
Compared to their bottle-fed counter- parts, breast fed infants have a low incidence of allergies such as atopic dermatitis.
- Colostrum has endorphins good for birth associated stress
Colostrums is the first milk that is normally yellowish in color because it contains a high fat content
- It reduces the risk of juvenile onset diabetes mellitus , rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease
These diseases are commoner in children who were not breast fed for some reason or another
- It reduces infant mortality- otitis media, pneumonia and diarrhea are less in breast fed infants
This is because breast milk contains anti-bodies which protect the baby from infections
- Breastfeeding helps mothers lose weight
Pregnancy is a weight gaining experience (he he) some mothers also gain a lot of weight during the period after giving birth. (What with everyone musing about the way they should eat so that they can breast feed their younglings?)
Breast feeding helps lose some of that undesirable weight
- Suckling promotes uterine involution and this prevents post- partum hemorrhage
After the baby is born, the uterus contracts and this helps to prevent bleeding
Breast feeding helps in further contraction of the uterus hence reducing the chances of post partum bleeding
- It is a contraceptive although it is not 100 percent effective
Some women will not start getting their periods until six months after giving birth. This phenomenon is known as lactational amenorrhea.
It is more pronounced in women who breast feed their children exclusively.
During this period, such women will not get pregnant
Note; this is not very effective and it is therefore important to use a contraceptive. If you do not want to be that woman who finds themselves pregnant when her baby is barely five months old
- Breast feeding helps reduce breast and ovarian cancers