Benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is one of the most beautiful forms of love you can provide for your baby. Making the decision to breastfeed is a very personal manner, but the benefits are seemingly endless. Many medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. After the introduction of other foods, it is recommended to continue to breastfeed through the baby’s first year of life.The first feeding:Your baby will be born with a suckling instinct, it is stronger in some babies than in others. Since this instinct is intense immediately after birth, it is best to introduce him to the breast within the first hour or so of life. This will not only stimulate your breasts to produce more milk, thus beginning the establishment of a reliable milk supply, but it will signal your uterus to contract and decrease the chance of excessive bleeding after delivery.The first feeding will also help your baby to begin and learn how to nurse. Placing your newborn skin to skin against your chest will help to encourage your baby to smell the colostrum, which the first milk that comes out of your breast after birth and its high in protein,low in sugar, and loaded with beneficial compounds. It’s truly a wonder food and not replaceable by formula! The smell of the colostrum will make your baby want to latch on and begin his first feeding. In fact, the initial phase of breastfeeding is a learning process for both, you and your baby, its not always easy but its always worth it.Why is it very important to breastfeed? Here are some of the endless benefits:For your baby’s immune system:Breast milk contains antibodies that can fight infection. Those antibodies are present in high amounts in colostrum. Colostrum provides all the nutrients and fluid that your newborn needs in the early days, as well as many substances to protect your baby against infections. However, there are antibodies in your breastmilk the entire time you continues to nurse as well. Through these antibodies, you can pass on some protection against infectious illnesses you had in the past, and those you get while breastfeeding. Some studies show that breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor. Breast milk can literally give babies a head start in preventing and fighting infections!For your baby’s nutrition:Breast milk contains everything baby needs for the first 6 months of life, in all the right proportions. Its composition even changes according to the baby’s changing needs, especially during the first month of life, how magical? Colostrum is the ideal first milk and helps the newborn’s immature digestive tract develop. It the only thing that may be lacking from your magical milk is vitamin D, that’s why vitamin D drops are recommended After the first few days, the breasts start producing larger amounts of milk as the baby’s stomach grows.For your baby’s weight:Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity. One study showed that breastfeeding for longer than 4 months had a significant reduction in the chances of a baby developing overweight and obesity. This may be due to the development of different gut bacteria. Breastfed babies have higher amounts of beneficial gut bacteria, which may affect fat storage. Breastfed babies also self-regulate their milk intake. They’re better at eating only until they’ve satisfied their hunger, which helps them develop healthy eating patterns.prevents diaper rash, magical huh?Formula-fed babies are more likely to get diaper rash than babies who are breastfed, though the specific reason is not clear. Yet some theories suggest that breastfed babies have less copious, alkaline, caustic feces to the skin.