Without a doubt, breast milk is the best food for your baby. Ask any doctor in the world and they will testify that its the healthiest food for your precious little one. Babies who are breastfed from birth are much less likely to be ill in their first year of life. Apart from that, babies who are breastfed are also less likely to develop the following:
- Gastroenteritis (Diarrhea)
- Pneumonia (infection of the lungs caused by any one of a number of viruses)
- Bronchiolitis (swelling and infection of the smallest airways of the lungs)
- Urinary tract infections (inflammation at any point along the urinary tract)
- Eczema (dry, itchy skin condition)
- Ear infections
The primary benefit of breast milk is nutritional. Human milk contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water, and amino acids for human digestion, brain development, and growth.
Breast-fed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother’s antibodies to disease. About 80 percent of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Breast-fed babies are protected, in varying degrees, from a number of illnesses, including pneumonia, botulism, bronchitis, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections and German measles. Furthermore, mothers produce antibodies to whatever disease is present in their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight the diseases their babies are exposed to!
Human milk straight from the breast is always sterile, never contaminated by polluted water or dirty bottles, which can also lead to diarrhea in the infant. A breast-fed baby’s digestive tract contains large amounts of (Lactobacillus bifidus), beneficial bacteria that prevent the growth of harmful organisms.
Human milk contains at least 100 ingredients not found in formula. No babies are allergic to their mother’s milk, although they may have a reaction to something the mother eats. If she eliminates it from her diet, the problem resolves itself.
Studies have shown that breastfeeding reaps long-term health benefits for a child, where people who were breast-fed as babies have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and are less likely to develop Type Two diabetes in adulthood than those who have been formula-fed, no matter how superior the infant formula claims to be.
Breast milk is a complete food. It contains at least 400 nutrients as well as hormones and disease-fighting compounds, which simply cannot be duplicated in formula milk. Its nutritional make-up naturally and perfectly adjusts to your baby’s needs and development. Furthermore, apart from physical and mental-building, infection-fighting benefits of your milk which no formula can offer, breastfeeding helps to build that special bond between mother
The World Health Organisation and also our own Health Ministry recommends that babies are given only breast milk for their first six months. It is also highly recommended that women should carry on breastfeeding after their babies have started on solid food, if possible, right up till the end of the first year.
Colostrums, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of a pregnancy, is recommended by WHO as the perfect food for newborns, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.
For good jaw development
It’s harder work to get milk out of a breast than a bottle, and the exercise strengthens the jaws and encourages the growth of straight, healthy teeth. The baby at the breast also can control the flow of milk by sucking and stopping. With a bottle, the baby must constantly suck or react to the pressure of the nipple placed in the mouth.