baby breastfeeding

The Importance of Breastfeeding

Okay mama’s to be, this post is for you!

As an upcoming mother, I know how scary and nerve-racking it can be. How do you know if you are doing things right and where do you even begin? Well, that’s what I’m here for! First, let me start off with telling you how magical breastfeeding can be. Not only does breast milk provide a ton of nutrients for your baby and help develop such a strong emotional connection between you and your baby, but I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. As the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding explains, “there is almost nothing you can do for your child in his whole life that will affect him both emotionally and physically as profoundly as breastfeeding”.

I’m here to tell you about the 3 biggest benefits of breastmilk that affect EVERYTHING in your baby’s world.

We are going to start a little serious here. Fact, infant formula is not necessarily evil; the number 1 goal as a mother is to feed the baby. If there are ride or die reasons why you may need to or choose to use formula – respect and love to you, mama. AS LONG AS YOU FEEL INFORMED IN YOUR CHOICE. I just want to make sure you have all the necessary and correct information available to you.

Your breastmilk is made to be perfect for your baby. It not only is his first food, but it also houses an array of benefits. It protects him from infection and other illnesses for his entire life, especially in his early years when he’s much more susceptible. This includes a lower risk of ear infections, obesity, SIDS, and diabetes and leukemia. And that’s just the start of it. The nutritional components of your breast milk provide immunological protection to your baby and strengthen defense mechanisms against foreign agents. Basically, your breast milk gives a head start in preventing and fighting infections for your baby.

And the benefits don’t end there. Benefits to you, momma? Breastfeeding is associated with less risk for deadly complications after birth, faster return to pre-pregnancy weight, and lower risk for diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer. It also forms an undeniable connection between you and your child. What more could you ask for?

I could go on all day about this, but just for you, here are 3 benefits that affect your baby for life.

Best ‘Tummy’ Health.

You’ve heard of good bacteria right? (hello 2019 kombucha craze). Well breastmilk is essential to building your baby’s healthy bacteria, called probiotics. Bacteria (probiotics) from you gets passed on to your baby during breastfeeding.

 Breastfeeding is essential for:

  • Strengthening baby’s belly walls to not let the bad, and sometimes deadly, bacteria through his intestinal lining. 
  • Encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria in the baby’s gut – the greater the amount of this beneficial bacteria, the better your baby will be at fighting off infections in the gut microbiome.
  • Increasing ease of digestion – fewer bouts of diarrhea or constipation (which means less nasty diapers to clean up, who wouldn’t want that!)
  • Supplying more essential vitamins and minerals for your newborn.
  • Strong Immunity

Giving your baby breastmilk does not give his immune system a boost…no no no… giving baby breastmilk is the biological norm. 

To name a few benefits of breastfeeding during his first days and beyond: 

  • He will become sick less often (which means less panicked trips to the pediatrician!)  
  • And when he does get sick, he will be sick for shorter periods of time and less severe. 
  • Babies who are breastfed remain healthy when the rest of the family falls sick with an illness due to the antibodies that they are receiving from your breastmilk. Even when you or the rest of your family gets sick, you have less to worry about!
  • A child’s immune system takes several years to fully develop, which is why breastfeeding from an early age is constantly protecting their immune system until they are fully developed. 
  • Your breastfed baby will also develop his immune system much quicker than a baby who is formula-fed. 
  • Healthy Brain Growth

Research shows that breastfed babies:

  • Have higher scores in reading, writing, and math as compared to their formula-fed counterparts. 
  • Achieve an overall slightly higher IQ than their formula-fed counterparts. 
  • Have an increase in baby’s brain growth by 20-30%! I mean who doesn’t want to raise the next Einstein. 
  • Have enhanced development in key parts of the brain associated with language, cognition, and emotional function.

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Emily Sylvester

Emily Sylvester is the Founder & CEO of Mother of Fact. As a Licensed Registered Dietitian, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Mom of 3, she's helped thousands of families in many low/middle income communities feel confident and supported in their feeding journey. Her mission is to eliminate the deficit of equitable breastfeeding & formula feeding help for all households & healthcare systems.
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