The weak immune system of infants makes them susceptible to different kinds of diseases. Since their bodies are yet to be developed, adequate nourishment and special care should be given to them. Fortunately, mothers can nurture their babies through breastfeeding. This is often devalued around the world, especially to industrialized countries, but breast milk contains unique nutritional value that cannot be duplicated or replaced by any milk formulas. It does not only provide benefits to the child but also to the mother who does the breastfeeding.
Practically speaking, breastfeeding is a convenient and cost-effective way of feeding an infant. The AAP or American Academy of Pediatrics advocates all mothers to breastfeed their child on the first year of life until the need to stop arises. Breastfeeding has shown to reduce the infant’s risks of allergic illnesses, lymphoma, ear infections, juvenile diabetes, Chrohn’s disease, sudden infant death syndrome, diarrhea and vomiting. It also boosts the immune system of the infant as breast milk contains proteins, sugars, enzymes; fats, vitamins and minerals needed for his/her growth and development. Breastfed children need lesser orthodontic work and have a better dental health compared to children who were formula-fed. Aside from that, osteoporosis is less likely to occur later in the lives of the child and the mother.
Due to the essential nutrients of breast milk, children who were breastfed have 8 points higher IQ levels and they tend to have fewer psychological, behavioral as well as learning problems. Some studies also found that breastfed children were more assertive, secured and matured with themselves. On the part of the mother who breastfed the child, she will experience satisfaction as the nutritional needs are met and the bond between them are promoted. Breastfeeding gives several health benefits to the mother especially after her delivery. Physicians usually recommend the mothers to nurse their infant so that the uterus will contract and hemorrhage risks are less. Breastfeeding also burns calories; that is why mothers who do this regularly will shrink to their pre-pregnancy size faster than those who do not breastfeed. Their chances of getting cervical cancer, osteoporosis and even pre-menopausal breast cancer are also less. Hence, breastfeeding is a well recommended type of feeding for all mothers.