The decision to breastfeed should solely be yours. While there are going to be people who will have opinions on the topic, at the end of the day, it is up to you, whether you want to do it or not. A number of medical authorities and studies have studied the vast range of benefits that breastfeeding can provide for both you and your child. While it is strongly recommended by doctors, at the end, it depends on the circumstances that the mother is in and the personal choices that the mother makes for the baby and herself.
Benefits for the baby
Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits for both the mother and the baby. Here are some of the top benefits that it provides for the baby.
Complete source of nutrition
Breast milk is a source of complete nutrition for the infants. It is a perfect blend of proteins, vitamins and fat, essentially everything that is necessary for a baby’s growth. It is also, more easily digestible than infant formulas and other types of artificial baby food.
It has a lot of antibodies that can help boost the baby’s immune system and can help the baby fight bacterial and viral infections. It has been proven to help the baby be at a lower risk of developing allergies and asthma. Babies who have been breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of their lives are less likely to develop health issues like respiratory illnesses, diarrhea and ear infections. It can also help to reduce the risk of health issues in the future.
A number of studies have linked the brain development levels to improved IQ scores in the later part of childhood.
Healthy weight development
Breastfed babies can gain the exact amount of weight that they need to and prevent the development of obesity and other abnormal growth rates.
Studies have showed a lowered rate of SIDS(sudden infant death syndrome).
It can help the baby to bond with you and feel more loved and secure due to the physical proximity, skin contact and eye contact that happens during the process.
Benefits for the mother
While breastfeeding does have benefits for the child, which is a commonly known fact, it provides a number of benefits to the mother as well, which is a fact that is not as widely understood. Here are the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother.
Burn that pregnancy weight
If you are wondering how to shed that extra pregnancy weight, breastfeeding can be a really effective and painless way to do so. Breastfeeding can help to burn a lot of the extra calories and can help to reduce the pregnancy weight quicker.
Improve uterine elasticity
During breastfeeding, the hormone oxytocin is released which is a key hormone that helps to return the uterus to the pre-pregnancy size. It can also help to reduce the rate of uterine bleeding post birth.
Reduced rate of cancer
Breastfeeding has been linked to a reduced rate of ovarian and breast cancer in women in a number of studies.
Reduced rate of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis or low bone density affects one in three women over the age of 40. Breastfeeding can help lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Saves time and money
It can help you save time and money on buying formula, sterilizing the bottles and the nipple, measuring out the formula and can be more economically viable for less privileged mothers.
It can help you relax and bond with your newborn while they feed.
Risks of breastfeeding
In a few cases it can be harmful for you to breastfeed your baby. These include:
- HIV positive: The HIV virus can be transmitted via breast milk.
- If you are diagnosed with tuberculosis.
- If you are getting chemo for any type of cancer.
- If you are doing any types of drugs such as marijuana and cocaine.
- If your baby has galactosemia and cannot tolerate galactose present in breast milk.
- Certain medicines for migraine, Parkinson’s disease and arthritis can harm the baby.
Other than these, there may be issues like sore nipples, dry and cracked nipples and blocked ducts and other breast infections may be some side effects of breastfeeding. Be sure to consult your GP or doctor to ensure that it is safe and healthy for you to breastfeed your baby.