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Benefits of breastfeeding on the baby:
Breastfeeding is said to have both long-term benefits and immediate benefits on the newborn baby. Breastfeeding ensures that the baby is healthy, happy and free from any discomfort. Below are some benefits of breastfeeding on the baby:
Babies tend to have an extremely sensitive immune system and hence are prone to contracting infections, stomach viruses and respiratory problems. Studies showed that babies who were breastfed were at a lower risk of infections as opposed to those who weren’t. This is because breast milk contains immunoglobulin A which works by forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes of the baby's nose, intestines and mouth. Immunoglobulin A also fights pathogens effectively by secreting antibodies. During the later stages of the baby's life, it will also be considerably at a lower risk of diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes.
Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed, when monitored prove to have a higher IQ level than those babies that were not. This was done by means of IQ and vocabulary tests.There are various reasons for this. Breast milk is said to be rich in certain fatty acids. These contribute in enhancing brain power.Also, when the baby is underweight and is breastfeed, its weight increases and so does its mental capabilities.Breastfeeding also helps boost cognitive development.
One of the best ways to ensure that your baby does not grow up to be obese is by breastfeeding it. There are many medical reasons linking obesity and breastfeeding. Firstly, breast milk contains a hormone called leptin which regulates appetite. It also contains less insulin which is an added advantage as insulin promotes the creation of fat in the body. Also, babies that are not breastfed tend to gain weight early on which turns into obesity, later in life. All in all, breastfeeding promotes a healthier eating pattern.
Breast milk is always readily available for the baby and is free of any food supplements. It is clean, hygienic and available at the right temperature. There is no necessity to store the milk in plastic bottles which are non-biodegradable, thereby indirectly impacting the environment.
Benefits of breastfeeding on the mother:
Studies show that women who breastfeed reduce their risk of developing cancer by a whopping 25%. This is directly proportional to the duration that she breastfeeds the baby. Cancers such as breast cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer are triggered by high estrogen levels in the body. This estrogen level is low while breastfeeding, which in turn curb the growth of tissues in these areas, this reducing the risk of cancer.
When a mother feeds a baby, her level of anxiousness is said to reduce to a great extent. This is highly beneficial to counteract postpartum stress and depression.Also, breastfeeding helps divert the mother's mind and helps her to keep occupied and gives her a sense of fulfillment and joy as opposed to making her anxious and unhappy.Another change observed in mothers that breastfeed is that they lose their weight in the postpartum months way quicker than those mothers that don’t.Oxytocin produced while breastfeeding also reduces postpartum bleeding and helps return the uterus to its original size.
Just as how breastfeeding helps protect the baby against contracting any diseases, it also reduces the risk of the mother falling prey to them. Diseases such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, fluctuating blood pressure to name a few can all be counteracted with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also impacts your menstrual cycle in a beneficial way, thus helping extend your time between pregnancies.
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