First of all, congratulations on the arrival of your new baby! Mother’s breast milk is the best food for our babies and only mothers are able to nourish them right after birth. Let me share a famous breastfeeding quotes and it is so true!
Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, to her baby, and to the earth!by Pamela K. Wiggins
The benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby
In this article, i will be sharing the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby. For those parents who are new to breastfeeding, and those who are still struggling on breastfeeding your newborn, here is the article for you. I hope this article will make you feel motivated and continue to breastfeed your little one.
What is Breastfeeding?
This is the process of feeding your baby with breastmilk directly from your breast. It has been recommended by the World Health Organization, breastfeed your baby exclusively at least for the first six months of your baby to achieve optimal growth, development, and health.
Although breastfeeding has been beneficial for both mothers and babies, note that it is still your personal choice. There is always something new to learn when it comes to breastfeeding. Maybe this is your first time to breastfeed or perhaps, you had breastfed in the past. In this article, we’ll cover all the things you need to know about breastfeeding.
When to Feed Your Baby?
There are several signs that your baby is already hungry and that it’s time for breastfeeding. Crying is a very common sign, along with putting their hands in their mouths, fussiness, and sucking on things. Babies would also turn their heads as they look for your breast, or sometimes, they become more active.
Newborns need to be fed every 1 – 2 hours, and as they grow, they need to breastfeed is reduced. For example, when they reach two months, you only need to feed them every 2 – 3 hours, and when they reach six months, then 3 – 4 hours. Breast milk is easier to digest and newborn baby will get hungry easily and ask for frequent feeding. Therefore, for the first few months, breastfeed according to the baby demands.
You will notice their feeding pattern once you have established breastfeeding well. That’s why you have to watch out for the clock – you don’t want to miss feeding them, or they’ll get grumpy!
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers
Lose pregnancy weight faster
During pregnancy, mothers tend to gain unwanted weight. If you want to get rid of this weight more quickly, aside from exercising and changing your diet, breastfeeding can help you burn up to 500 calories a day. That is because your body requires energy to build and maintain milk supply, plus it stimulates the hormones released from your body that will help you shrink your post-baby belly.
Breastfeeding saves time and money
Breastfeeding will result in healthier babies, meaning a lesser chance for them to get sick and lesser hospital trips and bills for you! Also, do you know that a formula costs around USD 2,000 for your baby’s first year? Well, guess what? Breastmilk is free!
Breastfeeding is great for your physical and emotional health
With breastfeeding, you lessen the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and osteoporosis. This is also a chance to get closer and bond with your baby, releasing oxytocin or the happy hormone that can help you with post-partum depression and stress. Emotionally, breastfeeding helps by increasing your confidence, self-esteem, and calmness.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Babies
The best nutrition for your babies
Believe it or not, breastmilk has the perfect mix of vitamins for your baby, from carbohydrates, protein to fat, basically everything your baby needs for them to gain the ideal amount of weight.
Breastmilk provides a stronger immune system
Because your breastmilk contains antibodies, it helps battle viruses and bacteria that comes your baby’s way. Your milk has many infection-fighting factors, so you can expect that your child will get less diarrhea or any digestive problems.
It makes your baby smarter
Breastmilk helps brain growth and nervous system development, making them score better in Intelligence tests when they grow older. According to Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta of the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, “Our study provides the first evidence that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least the age of 30 years but also has an impact both at an individual and societal level by improving educational attainment and earning ability.”
It prevents SIDS
Also known as the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or the sudden death of a healthy infant. No one knows why this happens to babies between one – twelve months of age, but breastfeeding delivers immunoglobulins that help protect infants from SIDS.
Can You Make Enough Milk?
Some signs that show that your baby is getting enough milk are that they should calm during feeding and contentment between feedings. If their cheeks stay rounded while they are sucking, then it’s a good indication that your baby is getting enough milk. From the fourth day onwards, wet nappies become more frequent. You should have at least six nappies every 24 hours.
We always want the best for our baby so if you ever wonder if you are giving enough milk, watch out for their weight gain. During the first few days after delivery, they should never lose more than 7% of their birth weight. Unfortunately, if you lose more than that, then it means you are having issues with your breastmilk (inefficient or low supply) or due to problem such as baby tongue tie or improper latching. You should check with your doctor or lactation consultant how to boost your milk supply or any other underlying problem with breastfeeding.
Don’t worry because there are many ways to boost your breastmilk supply. Direct latching is the best way to maintain your breast milk supply. Another way is by avoiding giving them formula for the first six months until breastfeeding has been established. You can also switch between breasts alternately.
Although there are many benefits in breastfeeding for both mothers and babies, there are also challenges during breastfeeding too. You may experience sore nipples, unbearable pain due to breast engorgement, or mastitis and have struggles with pumping and storing milk especially you are returning to work. The best way to solve it is by getting help from a lactation consultant or a midwife. Get yourself a regular postnatal check-up to make sure you are in good health condition.
More important than ever is to talk to your family members or friends who breastfeed, or join a support group that talks about breastfeeding. A supportive community where you can share information and solution to problems can motivate and do wonders for you.
Good luck! You got this!
Please share your breastfeeding experience and why you love breastfeeding so much. Share your happiness also your struggles with us. We love to hear from you.