Why do mothers choose to breastfeed?

  • Breast milk is living tissue that changes to meet your baby's nutritional needs. The fat content of human milk varies month to month, day to day. Human milk also changes to protect your baby against germs.  This is especially important during the first six months of life while his immature system is gradually building his own supply of germ fighting elements
 
 
  • Breast milk is living tissue that changes to meet your baby's nutritional needs. The fat content of human milk varies month to month, day to day. Human milk also changes to protect your baby against germs.  This is especially important during the first six months of life while his immature system is gradually building his own supply of germ fighting elements. The white cells in your milk produce a special protein which coats his intestines, preventing the passage of harmful germs from his intestinal tract into his bloodstream.  
 
 
  • Breastfed babies have a lower incidence of infection, anaemia, diarrhoea, meningitis, diabetes, gastroenteritis, asthma, constipation, allergies, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, dental and speech problems, and many more. 

 

  • Artificially fed babies are three to four times as likely as bottle-fed infants to suffer from ear infections and lower respiratory infections, and 16 times more likely to be sick during the first two months of life.  

 

  • Let's not forget the importance of the emotional security and closeness to mother than nursing infants enjoy. Anyone who has ever seen a baby blissfully drifting off to sleep while nursing, or being comforted at the breast during periods of stress, knows that breastfeeding offers much more than nutritional and immunological advantages. 
 
 

Advantages to mother include: 

 
 
  • Continuation of your natural reproductive cycle. Breastfeeding suppresses ovulation and delays the return of fertility. In mothers who exclusively breastfeed (no bottles, unrestricted nursing day and night, and no solids before six months), breastfeeding is about 95% - 98% effective as a birth control method.  
 
 
  • Breastfeeding helps your body adjust to the many changes that occur after giving birth.  As your baby nurses, two hormones are released - which makes your uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnant state more quickly, minimizing blood loss, and help you relax.  
 
 
  • Nursing uses up extra calories and most mothers find that they lose weight faster (without dieting) than formula feeding moms.
 
 
  • Breast milk is always ready, always the perfect temperature, and doesn't need to be measured.  There are no bottles to clean and transport, and no formula to keep cooled and then warmed. Night feedings are easier because all you have to do is tuck the baby in bed with you and nurse while you both drift off to sleep. 
 
 
  • Breastfeeding your infant is satisfying emotionally. Nursing mothers tend to be very in tune with their baby's needs, and that increases not only the baby's security, but also the mother's self confidence in her mothering ability.  Being able to comfort a sick, fussy, or tired baby at the breast is one of the most satisfying things about breastfeeding.
 
 
  • Nursing uses up extra calories and most mothers find that they lose weight faster (without dieting) than formula feeding moms.
 
 
  • Breast milk is always ready, always the perfect temperature, and doesn't need to be measured.  There are no bottles to clean and transport, and no formula to keep cooled and then warmed. Night feedings are easier because all you have to do is tuck the baby in bed with you and nurse while you both drift off to sleep. 
 
 
  • Breastfeeding your infant is satisfying emotionally.  Nursing mothers tend to be very in tune with their baby's needs, and that increases not only the baby's security, but also the mother's self confidence in her mothering ability.  Being able to comfort a sick, fussy, or tired baby at the breast is one of the most satisfying things about breastfeeding.
 
 
  • Breastfeeding provides health benefits for you as well as your baby.  There is a lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis in nursing mothers.
 
 

Advantages to the family: 

 
 
  • Baby smells better. No, really, he does. His bowel movements and spit-up have a much less offensive odour.  
 
 
  • Although dads sometimes feel left out of the whole breastfeeding process (especially during the early weeks of exclusive nursing), they really like the fact that they are saving tons of money. 
 
 
  • With today's hectic lifestyles, breastfeeding forces you to take a break, sit down, and nurse.  It's almost as if nature provided a feeding system that encourages you to take care of yourself, even if you have a million other things you feel you ought to be doing.  Relax and enjoy these precious moments, because babies grow up way too fast. 
 
 

Breastfeeding Benefits: How They Add Up

 
 
Most new mothers wonder how long they should breastfeed their babies. 
 
 
  • If you nurse your baby for the first few days after birth, he will get a healthy dose of colostrum, the clear or golden coloured fluid that your breasts have been producing since the latter part of your pregnancy. You may have noticed some of it leaking out while you were pregnant. Breastfeeding during these early days is helpful for you as well as your baby. Breastfeeding helps you develop a special closeness as you get to know this special little person who has entered your life and also helps your body recover from childbirth more quickly by releasing hormones that contract your uterus and reduce post-partum bleeding. 
 
 
  • If you nurse your baby for 4-6 weeks, you will be helping to ease his transition through the most vulnerable part of his infancy. Babies who are breastfed have lower rates of many illnesses, including digestive and respiratory problems, pneumonia and meningitis and SIDS. 
 
 
  • Breastfeeding during the early weeks also helps you relax. Nursing 'forces' you to stay off your feet and sit still for long periods of time, since babies nurse so often during the first weeks of nursing while they are establishing your milk supply and growing so quickly. Nursing is nature's way of helping you get the rest you need while you are recovering from childbirth. The hormone prolactin that is released when you nurse is called "the mothering hormone", and helps you relax. 
 
 
  • If you nurse for 3-4 months, your baby will be much less likely to develop ear infections. Studies have found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for at least four months had half as many ear infections as formula fed babies. Nursing can help you lose the extra weight you put on during pregnancy because breast milk production mobilizes the fat you stored during pregnancy. 
 
 
  • If you nurse for 6 months, your baby will be much less likely to have problems with allergies, since at around that time, your baby's intestinal tract begins to produce antibodies which coat his intestines and protect him from foreign proteins and allergens. Most mothers who exclusively breastfeed for six months will not have a period during that time, and rarely ovulate. If you are nursing with no supplements or solids, you have about a 98% rate of protection against pregnancy. 
 
 
  • If you nurse for 9 months, you will be helping him through one of the most important developmental periods of his young life. Babies between 6 and 9 months go through so many changes - sitting up, teething, starting solids, crawling, pulling up, and more. Even though an older baby is eating solid foods, breast milk is still the most important part of his diet, and continues to provide him with important immunities at a time when he is crawling around and putting EVERYTHING in his mouth, including yucky, germy stuff. Lots of research points to the beneficial effects of breast milk on a baby's intellectual development. Breastfed babies score an average of 8 points higher on IQ tests than formula-fed babies.
 
 
  • If you nurse for a year, your baby will receive health benefits that last a lifetime. Long-term nursing protects against ulcerative colitis, diabetes, asthma, Crohn's disease, obesity and high cholesterol in adulthood. Babies who are breastfed for a year or more are less likely to need speech therapy or braces later in life. 
 
 
  • If your baby nurses for more than a year (or until he outgrows the need), you will continue to provide him with the best form of nutrition. 
 
 
  • During the toddler stage, your baby will encounter many spills and bumps and bruises as he navigates his new world. Nursing provides a perfect way to comfort a toddler who had bumped his knee, or who is fighting sleep after a busy day. Children who are breastfed long-term tend to be more secure than babies who are weaned early, because they have had their needs met during the vulnerable period of infancy. 
 
 
  • Long-term nursing provides benefits for moms, too. Many of the benefits of breastfeeding are dose-related. This means that, for example, the longer you breastfeed over the course of your lifetime, the lower your risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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