The decision to breastfeed or not rests solely on the mother most of the time. Perhaps if you understand the reason why breastfeeding is important it might help you make the best choice.
Why should you even care about breastfeeding when you could just pick up a tin of formula and give it to your baby? The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be overemphasized for both mother and child.
Some of these benefits of breastfeeding for the mother include;
- It reduces the risk of Postpartum Blood loss; Breastfeeding increases oxytocin production, a hormone that causes contractions in the uterus. It reduces blood loss after delivery and helps the uterus return to its previous smaller size.
- Breastfeeding reduces the rate of postpartum depression; Breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop postpartum depression because they have increased oxytocin which encourages relaxation and bonding.
- Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of menopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Your baby can gain the following if you breastfeed them:
- Ideal Nutrition
Breast milk contains everything that the baby needs for the first six months of life in all the right proportions. Breast milk composition changes according to the baby need so you don't need to be worried about your baby getting the right nutrient
- Healthy Weight
Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity. Breastfed babies self-regulate their milk intake which helps them develop a healthy eating pattern. Breastfed babies also have more leptin (Leptin is a hormone used to regulate appetite and fat storage) in their system.
- Protection against Infectious diseases
Research has shown that breastfeeding is protective against infectious diseases such as upper and lower respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal illness and otitis media during infant period and beyond
The benefits of breastfeeding in children born preterm have been shown to help in their neurodevelopmental functions, this association is seen in infants also.
- Protection from SIDS
Research has shown that breastfeeding protects children from Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).