Breastfeeding benefits & why it's so good
Breastfeeding offers mummy and baby endless benefits that will last a lifetime. Here are some important facts you may be interested to know...
Breast milk contains 90% water, which is sufficient enough to keep baby hydrated, even in warm conditions.
It offers baby all the required nutrients for the first six months and continues to play an important role in nutrition, covering 30-40% of the calories baby needs up to one year old and 20-30% up to two-years old. It is far more superior than any raw cow's milk for infants as all the ingredients are easily digestible, useful and in balance with one another.
Breast milk fortifies the baby with antibodies, cells, anti-inflammatory agents and enzymes. Whenever mother and baby contract a virus, or where there are signs of an impending cold, the baby asks to breastfeed more and shows less interest in other food. The breast milk keeps baby hydrated, whilst helping to combat the illness. Breast milk naturally boosts a baby'simmune system helping baby fight viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections. Studies show that breastfeeding can also reduce baby’s risk of disease later in life as well, so the benefits are long-term.
REDUCED RISKS FOR MUM
Breastfeeding is believed to reduce a woman's risk of ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. The longer she breastfeeds, the more beneficial it is.
Breastfeeding also helps mum heal faster in the postpartum, helping her uterus return to pre-pregnancy size faster and lowering overall postpartum blood loss.
HELPS SHIFT BABY WEIGHT
Breastfeeding can help mum return to her pre-baby weight. It takes 1000 calories a day on average to produce breast milk. Women are advised to consume an extra 500 calories a day, and the body dips into reserves it built up in pregnancy to make the rest (it’s important to consume those extra calories or the body actually goes into “starvation mode” and holds onto the reserves.
Breastfed babies eat until they feel full, not until the breast is emptied.
Mum's body is constantly making the perfect milk for baby. Milk changes its nutritional profile as baby grows (milk made for a 3 month old is different than for a 9 month old). Milk can even change day to day, for example; water content may increase during times of hot weather and baby-sickness to provide extra hydration.
Before your milk comes in, in the first few days after birth, your breasts make a thick, sticky, yellowish fluid sometimes referred to as “liquid gold.” Called colostrum, this liquid has the calcium, potassium, proteins, minerals, and antibodies your baby needs. Your baby needs only a few teaspoons to feel full and stay healthy until your milk flow increases, about two to five days after birth.
Breast milk heals. Breast milk is filled with special components that are designed to help fight infection and cut down on swelling in the breast. So, if your breasts are sore those first few days, gently massaging some of your milk into your nipples and breasts can soothe the soreness and speed up recovery.
COMFORTING, CALMING & BONDING
The practice of breastfeeding is equally as important as the breast milk itself and it tends to a child's emotional needs at all times and provides a sense of security. Breast milk also contains substances that promote sleep and calmness in babies, calms mum and helps her bond with her baby. Through breastfeeding, there is a constant and harmonious interraction between mum and baby.
Baby enjoys playing whilst feeding and by 18 months, he can feed whilst playing with a toy! He is so happy making face expressions, controlling the movement of his hands, lifting his legs and communicating with mum.
Mum’s breasts can detect even a one degree fluctuation in baby’s body temperature and adjust accordingly to heat up or cool down baby as needed. This is one reason skin-to-skin contact in the early days is so crucial.
Breastfeeding mums sleep on average 45 minutes more a night, compared to those who formula feed.
Breast milk is free, available 24/7 and it provides maximum flexibility if you like going out or travelling. No need to prepare, warm or cool any milk because it's there on demand, served at the perfect temperature!