Scientific research has established that breastfeeding is one of the most important components of life programming which is to be done in the first most critical 1000 days of one’s life. You and your baby both need this time to bond and to enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding. Let’s learn how beneficial is breastfeeding.
What exactly is in breast-milk?
You may want to know what exactly is in your breast milk before you understand its benefits. I’m sure you know that it’s full of nutrients that protect your baby. Interestingly, the composition of your breast milk varies and changes to meet the needs of your baby. Let’s see the composition now…
- Immune-boosting, millions of live cells including white blood cells and stem cells
- Thousands of proteins for the growth and development of your baby
- Complex sugars known as oligosaccharides – they feed good bacteria to your baby’s gut to prevent infections
- Enzymes – helps absorb iron and aids your baby’s digestion and immune system
- A LOT of hormones – they’re really smart chemicals that help send messages between tissues and organs to regulate your baby’s sleep patterns, appetite and surprisingly, even helps to create a bond between you and your baby
- Fatty acids – they play such a huge role in building your baby’s nervous system, brain development, and even aids eye movement and development
- Vitamins and minerals – everything your baby needs for a healthy growth
- Antibodies – they protect your baby against diseases and infections
and the list goes on.. but let’s see how it varies as with the needs of your baby.
Early milk right after your baby’s birth: Colostrum – also called “liquid gold”. The level of antibodies and white blood cells in colostrum is high so that it can protect your vulnerable-new-in-this-world baby from infections and diseases.
Day 5 to 14: Transitional milk – it changes from colostrum to mature milk which is more dense, high in fat, calories and lactose. Perfect for your baby’s growth and development
Four weeks and on: Mature milk -rich in protein, vitamins, sugar, hormones, enzymes, cells and good bacteria. The nutritional content of your milk will remain the same but the composition may change according to what you eat and how the needs of your baby change.
Breast Milk Benefits for Your Baby
Now, let’s see the benefits of breast milk for your baby:
- Protection from illnesses and infections
- Decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Protection from different allergies like asthma and eczema later in life
- Promotes a healthy weight and prevents obesity in children
- Enhance cognitive development
- Decrease the risk of developing type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the future
BUT the choice of breast-feeding your baby is a personal matter and in the end it should be your decision! Please, don’t let anyone pressurize you or make you force it on you. You and your baby are unique and this decision is yours to make!