Benefits to your baby of Breastfeeding
I know it sounds selfish to mention this first, but breastfeeding helped me lose my baby belly without too much pain. Eating sensibly (not dieting) exercise and breastfeeding works for many mums.
Breast milk is a mix of essential nutrients for your baby, the protein on your milk which is used by the babies body to build new cells, can easily be digested. Unlike cows or other animal milks which infants can not digest until their digestive system matures. Along with protein are a mix of vitamins and minerals essential for health and growth and fats for energy.
The crucial difference to formula milk though is the antibodies in mums’ milk. These protect the baby by boosting their immune system. Every time your body meets a new bacteria or virus you body produces antibodies designed by your body to locate and destroy these invaders. These antibodies flow through to your baby boosting their immunity.
Studies also suggest that breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of childhood asthma.
Breast fed babies are more likely to gain the right amount of weight whereas formula fed babies are more likely to put on too much weight. And of course there is the bonding which the skin to skin contact creates.
What age should I carry on Breastfeeding?
According to the World Health Organisation WHO they recommend that babies are fed exclusively on breast milk (no other liquids or solids) for the first six months. After six months parents should gradually wean the infant onto solid food, but the WHO recommend carrying on Breastfeeding up to two years old.
It may be important not to stop with breast milk during weaning as studies suggest breast milk plays are part in helping develop the child's digestive system.
The major benefits to breastfeeding are during those first six months, but there are further benefits to carrying on after that.
Of course not every mum can breastfeed and again I would stress that formula is a good and safe alternative. No mum should feel guilty or stressed over this.
Breastfeeding is not easy and I myself found it difficult, so much so, that I ended up expressing my milk and bottle feeding. This is a good option for many mums as it can mean your partner can take over some of the night feeding.