Many medical professionals including the American Academy of Pediatrics advise nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies at least for six months due to the numerous health benefits their babies will derive from their breast milk. Breastfeeding also gives some health benefits to the nursing mothers. The breast milk is highly nutritious. It contains disease fighting substances that attack germs and foreign bodies in the body of the baby. Besides, breast milk is rich in vitamins. Here are some of the health benefits of breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding fights illnesses
The immune system of a baby has not functionally become active. The breast milk contains enough disease fighting substances such as the secretory immunoglobulin A which is contained in huge amount in the first breast milk produced several weeks following delivery (colostrums). Secretory immunoglobulin A acts as the immune system of the baby and keeps the baby safe from germs and illnesses. Studies have shown that breastfed babies are less vulnerable to illnesses such as meningitis, ear infections, lower respiratory illness, stomach viruses and others as compared to the babies that are not breastfed or adequately breastfed.
Breastfeeding enhances cognitive development
The results of numerous studies conducted on the relationship between breastfeeding and cognitive development have proved that children who were breastfed exclusively (without including any other foods) experienced enhanced cognitive development than other children fed with other foods such as baby formulas. Breast milk contains enough fatty acids which according to medical experts enhance cognitive development.
Breast milk prevent SID and other health conditions
SID is an acronym for sudden infant death syndrome. It has been discovered through various studies that exclusive or partial breastfeeding helps to reduce SID. It is also believed that breastfeeding reduces the risk of certain cancer and diabetes. However, more studies are required in order to establish this fact beyond doubt.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity
Obesity or overweight is now on the increase even among children. American Academy of Pediatrics advises nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies as it lowers the risk of obesity in the babies. Studies have been carried out on the relationship between obesity and breastfeeding and it has been discovered that babies who were breastfed are less likely to become obese or overweight in later age.
Benefits of breastfeeding to the nursing mother
Some of the benefits you will get from breastfeeding include the following.
Losing pregnancy weight
Breastfeeding is a veritable means through which you can lose pregnancy weight easily and quickly. This is because it helps you to burn calories quickly. Besides, your breast milk also contains fat. As you are breastfeeding, your baby is taking some of the fats stored in your body. Oxytocin which is a hormone that helps to bring back the uterus to its normal size before pregnancy is released more during breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding reduces uterine bleeding
Many experts recommend breastfeeding as a veritable means of reducing uterine bleeding after childbirth.
Breastfeeding lowers risk of certain cancers
Based on studies, breastfeeding will help you to reduce the risk of certain type of cancer such as ovarian cancer and breast cancer. However, more studies are required in order to explain adequately how breastfeeding help in reducing risk of cancer.