Mother’s milk provides optimal nutrition for the baby. Breast milk has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and all micro nutrients . It is a live fluid and is loaded with numerous immunological factors. The antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones make breast milk so special. Breastfeeding offers many advantages to mother-infant pair. I have enlisted few important ones here
Advantages offered by Breast milk and Breastfeeding
For the baby:
1. All the nutrients are in appropriate proportion for optimal growth and development of the baby and it is tailor made as per baby's requirement.
2. Protects the baby from infections and allergies.
3. It is contamination-free as it is transferred directly from the mother to the baby.
4. Breast milk is at the right temperature and is easily digestible by the baby.
5. Mother's milk helps is brain growth and cognitive development of the tiny tot.
6. It provides protection against obesity, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes in later life
7. Breastfeeding promotes stronger mother - infant bonding which lasts for lifetime.
For the mother:
1. It is very convenient and comfortable for the mother and requires no preparation.
2. Helps in early expulsion of placenta and also helps to reduce post delivery bleeding
3. Uterus contracts faster to pre-pregnancy state
4. Helps in family planning i.e. to delay consequent pregnancy (lactational amenorrhea) but mother should not depend on this as the sole method of contraception.
5. It also protects from post-menopausal osteoporosis.
6. Mother’s pregnancy fat stores are utilized for breast milk preparation. This helps her get back to her pre-pregnancy weight (to be complemented with moderate exercises and avoidance of excessive fat intake)
7. It has long term health benefits for the mother such as Decreased risk of breast,
ovarian and uterine cancers
Breastfed babies fall less sick. Hence family saves on medical expenses. Declining breastfeeding rates would increase the need for animal milk, artificial teats and bottles. This can pollute the environment. Hence breastfeeding is environment friendly as well. Thus, breastfeeding is advantageous not only for the mother and baby but also for the overall development of the society and the nation.