The first 1000 days of your baby’s life, from the first day of your pregnancy up to two years of life, represent a critical period of growth and development. The most complete form of nutrition for infants – breast milk – offers a range of benefits for health, growth, immunity, and development for your baby. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding because of the long-lasting benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby and many studies confirm the significance of these recommendations. Here are just a few health benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby.
What is in breastmilk?
Breastmilk is a unique nutritional source that is easy to digest and provides the perfect balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and nutrients to promote the growth and development of your baby.
Breastmilk has antibacterial properties and contains hundreds of invaluable substances in human milk – probably more that have yet to be identified – including: Antibodies and white blood cells, probiotics (as many as 600 different species!), hormones, growth factors, oligosaccharides (special carbohydrates that encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive system), long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (important for the development of their brain, eyes and nervous system), cytokines (special proteins involved in cell communication and immune system formation), as well as many more.
Breastfeeding not only provides your baby with tailored nutrition, but it’s available on-demand, day or night, and it’s free of charge. The health benefits go well beyond convenience and cost, however, and will have a far-reaching impact on both you and your baby long after the breastfeeding journey has ended.
Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby
Scientific research suggests a substantial number of potential health benefits from breastfeeding. These benefits include:
- Decreased rates of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of life. An effect that becomes even stronger when breastfeeding is exclusive.
- Lower post-neonatal infant mortality rates (a reduction of approximately 21% in the U.S.).
- Decreased risk of your baby developing eczema, asthma, and food allergies later in life.
- Lower incidence of infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, ear infections, respiratory tract illness bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infection, bacteraemia, necrotizing enterocolitis, and late onset sepsis in preterm infants.
- Improved dental health with less risk of tooth decay.
- Reduction of the risk of obesity later in life when exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months.
- Decreased rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, lymphoma, leukaemia and Hodgkin disease in older children and adults.
And if this wasn’t enough, breastfeeding also exposes your baby, through the milk you’re producing, to the varying tastes and flavour profiles of the foods you eat, which can influence food acceptance and preferences when they themselves begin to eat food, and throughout their lifetime as well.
Health benefits of breastfeeding for you
Your baby isn’t the only one who benefits from breastfeeding. The health benefits for the mama are also significant and include:
- A unique and powerful physical and emotional connection between you and your baby as breastfeeding is the one parenting behaviour only the mother can do.
- Stimulation of your body to produce antibodies in your milk which in turn helps your baby stay well or recover faster if sick.
- Help with your return to your pre-pregnancy weight by increasing your energy requirements, promoting the mobilization of fat stores, and quickens your uterus to contract to its pre-pregnancy size.
- Decreased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
- Possibly decreased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis in the post-menopausal period.
- Delay the return of your menstrual cycle, which will help maintain your iron status.
Vital Baby manufactures a range of accessories to make your breastfeeding journey more comfortable and enjoyable.
Investing in a breast pump:
If you decide to breastfeed then it’s important to invest in a good breast pump to make your life a lot easier. For maximum comfort, look for a pump that has soft silicone breast cup. For example, a pump like the Vital Baby Nurture Flexcone Electric Breast Pump has a very soft silicone breast cup and flexcone that provides gentle cushioning around your breast while mimicking the suckling action of your baby to provide the most natural and effective breast milk expression. This pump offers a 2-phase expression for the most effective, fast and comfortable way of promoting breastmilk production.
Don’t forget to include a few milk storage bags in your basket when buying a breast pump. These storage bags will work together with the breast pump to make storing your breast milk super easy. Look for bags with easy pour design features to make it simple to fill, store and transport your breastmilk.
There are many breast milk bags on the market, but they’re not all created equal. A good-quality breast milk storage bag will help avoid possible contamination and help you maintain a high standard of hygiene, easily and effortlessly.
Look for bags with a leak-proof secure seal to ensure no milk is lost when storing breast milk in the fridge or freezer. Bags with wide neck and free-standing base will make it easier to fill.
Find the best prices on nursing and feeding essentials online with PriceCheck: