Breast Milk: The Perfect Food For Your Baby’s Optimal Growth
Breast milk is undoubtedly the best food for your baby. Packed with all essential vitamins and nutrients, breast milk contains disease-fighting substances that protect your baby against several illnesses. Hence the benefits of breastfeeding don’t limit to just ‘feeding’.
Child experts advise exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 six months. This means that the baby will be given no other food (formula milk/ solid food/ water) other than breast milk during this period. An extremely beneficial practice, exclusive breastfeeding ensures optimal nourishment and helps the baby become strong and healthy.
Why is breast milk is the best milk?
Worldwide studies have proven that breastfeeding (especially exclusive breastfeeding) offers strong protection against many illnesses.
The main immune factor at work here is a substance called ‘secretory immunoglobulin’. Present in large quantities in colostrum - the first milk your body produces for your baby, ‘secretory immunoglobulin’ guards the body against viruses and bacteria by forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes.
Your breast milk is custom made for your baby. Your body responds to pathogens (virus and bacteria) in you and makes secretory immunoglobulin that’s specific to those pathogens. This ensures maximum protection for your baby against any heath problems that you have.
The immunity provided by breastfeeding lasts for many, many years. Studies have revealed that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of certain childhood cancers, drastically.
For the baby:
Promotes optimal physical and mental development
Offers protection against lifestyle diseases even during adulthood.
Provides protection against allergies.
Helps to achieve optimal mental development and boosts your child’s intelligence.
Protects your child from obesity/ gaining excess weight.
Reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Reduces your stress levels
Lowers the risk of postpartum depression
Lowers the risk of certain types of cancers.
The ABC of breastfeeding
A for awareness – watch for signs of hunger and feed whenever your baby is hungry. This is called ‘on demand feeding’.
B for Be Patient – don’t rush with the feeding, allow your baby to take as much time he or she wants to nurse, This also a great mother-child bonding exercise.
C for Comfort –be comfortable and relaxed while breastfeeding. Stress and anxiety can reduce the amount of milk produced.