What are the benefits of breast milk for the child? This is a question that the mother of every newborn would ask, and rightly so.
The benefits of breast milk cannot be emphasized enough as far as the health of the infant is concerned. You would have heard and read about how breast milk can play a great part in promoting the health of the child, but it is equally beneficial for the mother’s health. Breast milk is a complete package of benefits gifted by the nature that can actually make the life of mothers much easier and simpler.
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Beneficial Properties of Breast Milk
Nature has produced breast milk as a ready-to-consume source of nutrition for the baby and it has just the right properties to promote his or her health and well being. Breast milk is available right when the baby needs it and its secretion is instantly stimulated by the hormone oxytocin in the mother’s body.
Breast milk is available at the human body temperature, which is just in the right form in which the baby wants it. It does not require any preparation as is the case with instant milk formula products for infants.
The longer the breast milk is offered to the child, the greater will be the health benefits for the child and mother. However, infected mothers should consult a physician before breastfeeding.
One of the most important factors supporting the health benefits of breast milk is its composition. Breast milk is a comprehensive food source designed by nature for the child specifically. Breast milk is constituted of 4.5% fat, 0.9% protein, 7.1% carbohydrates and 0.2% minerals such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium and Chlorine.
Most importantly, breast milk features high levels of Immunoglobin A or IgA, which is an antibody that helps boost the immune system and fights a number of diseases.
Health Benefits for the Child
There are several health benefits of breast milk for the child, some of which are as follows.
Nutrition & Immunity
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition and immunity for the child. The composition of breast milk features essential nutrients and antibodies which are only found in this source. These nutrients are essential for the development, growth and the good health of the child.
Breast milk can help prevent several infections in the baby, including that of chest and ears. Breast milk is particularly very useful in preventing infections of the gastrointestinal tract.
Breast milk has been found Breastfeeding reduces the risk of allergies, study suggests in the baby.
Breast milk will reduce the likelihood of obesity in the child in the future. This benefit in itself will help avoid a number of dangerous diseases in the future, including diabetes mellitus type 2.
Persons who are breastfed see a reduction in the probability of developing diabetes mellitus type 2 by no less than 39%. Similarly, breast milk was found to reduce the likelihood of the development of childhood diabetes type 1 by up to 27% on breastfeeding for 3 months.
Breast milk could prove beneficial for the skin health of the baby as it can help reduce the likelihood of the development of atopic dermatitis, which is a type of eczema.
Breast milk is effective in reducing the probability of acute childhood leukemia, with 15% decrease in acute myelogenous leukemia and 19% reduction in childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Preventing Infant Mortality
Breast milk is found to be associated with the reduction of the cases of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. According to a study, breast milk can help reduce the likelihood of the occurrence from 36 to 50%.
Health Benefits for the Mother
Breastfeeding is as helpful to the health of the mother as it is for the baby. A lot of women are reluctant to breastfeed because of both personal reasons and societal pressures, but it could actually prove very helpful to the mother’s health and lifestyle as well.
Breastfeeding can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women. The risk of ovarian cancer is reduced up to 21%, while the risk is reduced up to 28% for women breastfeeding for over 12 months.
Breastfeeding can help consume as much as 500 calories, which is great for women who are looking to burn calories after the pregnancy months and childbirth.
Breastfeeding will cost nothing as compared to the instant milk formulas for the baby. Since breast milk is more nutritious anyway, the mother can be sure that it is the best deal since the child will be healthier when fed with it.
Probably the most underrated benefit of breastfeeding is its emotional value. It can offer the mother a sense of achievement, while also establish a much stronger bond between the child and the mother, which is very fulfilling emotionally and psychologically in itself.