Experts agree that breast milk is the best food for babies. In addition to providing excellent nutrition, it offers immune-system boosters that formula simply can't replicate. Scientists believe that breast milk can lessen a baby's chances of intestinal upsets, upper-respiratory infections, and nappy rash, and that the fatty acids specific to human breast milk promote optimal brain growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that mums breastfeed for all of a baby's first year, but any amount of breast milk is good for your infant. If you can only breastfeed for a week, a month, three months, or six months, do so.
More breastfeeding advantages:
- Breast milk is custom-made to meet your baby's individual dietary needs. Nothing is more nutritious or easier for a newborn to digest
- The maternal antibodies present in breast milk help protect babies against urinary tract, respiratory, and intestinal infections. Babies who are breastfed for at least four months have about half as many ear infections, and seven times fewer allergic reactions than bottlefed babies.
- Babies work harder to extract milk from the breast than the bottle, helping mouths, jaws and teeth develop.
- In addition to the warmth and comfort that nursing gives a baby, the hormones that trigger milk production also have a soothing effect on mum.
- Oxytocin, one of the lactation hormones, helps expel the placenta after birth. By contracting the uterus, it safeguards against hemorrhage.
- A nursing mother sheds pregnancy pounds gradually—without dieting.
- Breast milk is always available, always warm, and always sterile. There are no bottles and nipples to wash and sterilise, and no formula to prepare, refrigerate, heat or pack up for outings.
- Breast milk is free!
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.