Olidhealth.com – Giving birth to a healthy child is one of the motherhood experiences that always be remembered by the new mom. The next step after that event is to give the baby plenty of maternal milk as her/his first food. However, did you know the benefit of breastfeeding besides just as a food source for the baby? Read this article to know the fact about the importance of breastfeeding for both baby and mom.
Breastfeeding Benefit For Baby
The first 1-6 months is the best time to complete breastfeeding your baby but after that mom can give them more of it until 12 months or later. Providing them exclusive maternal milk is crucial for them. If possible, don’t add formula in the early months since nutrition from the farm may be hard for them to be ingested. There are benefits of breastmilk for baby as follow:
Best First Nutrition In The First Months
Maternal milk is the best first food for a newborn infant up to 6 months later. During that time, the baby needed important substances to adapt new environment. Some nutritionists also suggest for every first-timer mom to provide exclusive breast milk to their baby up to 6 months and could be continued until 1 year period.
For new mothers, their first milk will have a yellowish color and be slightly viscous. It is normal because in the first 5-7 days after giving birth, the mother will produce this kind of milk called colostrum. It has essential nutrients that the baby needs to protect the stomach gut and improve its growth . Moreover, breast milk also has numerous vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates (including oligosaccharides), lipids, and proteins to keep baby needs.
There are also some essential substances in maternal milk that couldn’t be found in formula or supplements. Breast milk has rich in miRNA that has benefits to promote the development process in babies by helping protein synthesis and improving the immune system within the body.
The amount of breast milk is related to their needs because they have a strong sense of connection between the mother and the baby. However, be careful if the mother takes any medication since it also could be transferred to the baby and affect them in some cases.
Promote Intelligence For Later Ages
Who doesn’t want to have a baby or child with a high IQ? Every dreamed parent surely wanted it. However, how to archive it? Some studies find that people that have exclusive breast milk in the early 6 months after birth have more IQ than those who don’t have it.
Some nutrition in this milk could induce brain formation and improve brain performance. For example, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), sialic acid, and certain nutrition in maternal milk can improve brain performance.
Gestures and interesting things that babies do also sign it does have good brain development in motor and capable to process information. In a study in 2021, children from 3-8 years of age have been experimented with by a simple IQ test to know the link between breastfeeding and intelligence. It turns out that the children who have exclusive breastfeeding have a higher IQ than babies that just have formula at an early age . So, providing them with some breast milk will have benefits at a later time.
Breastfeeding is Good For Babies With Fever
If your babies get fever symptoms, all you can do is give them plenty of breast milk since it is the only water source for them. There are also some techniques to encourage the baby to willingly take it. Moreover, breast milk is essential to prevent other diseases enter into their body. For instance, Some researchers believe that it has anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties to relieve fever symptoms in babies.
The composition of breast milk depends on the meal that the mother being consumed. Healthy nutrition food could be transferred to babies via breast milk since they can’t take any hard food in the first 6 months. So, mothers that take fever medication also could be transferred with this method if necessary and approved by the doctor.
If your babies are strong and old enough to take water, you could provide them with some of it. Warm water also could reduce its symptom. Check it to know why water is important to relieve fever.
Breast Milk Has Good Antibodies To Protect The Baby
Though breast milk has high in nutrients, it is also packed with some antibiotic agents such as immunoglobulin A (IgA), lactoferrin, lysozyme, and many more . These substances are abundant in first milk or colostrum. Moreover, Its also provide macrophages and lymphocytes from mother to baby as an additional army to protect the baby against malicious substance.
In the early stage of babies’ growth, they don’t have enough power to protect themself. IgA in breast milk contributes to defending against bacteria and viruses by producing a coating layer in the lining of the respiratory and digestive tract. Another immune agent like lactoferrin is used to help build the immune system when lysozyme could kill bacteria directly. In addition, these compounds are present in high amounts than bovine milk or other milk sources because breast milk is essential to humans.
If your baby gets sick with fever, the mother can build immunity and transferred it to the baby by breast milk. Some research also found that baby who doesn’t consume enough maternal milk is prone to have infectious diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
Breastfeeding Could Reduce and Prevent Ear Infections
Baby is susceptible to have some infections especially in organs that are connected to the outside world like an ear. Otitis media commonly occur in infants and children. To fight this infection, breast milk is the best solution for babies. Research in 2016 suggests that breastfeeding could reduce the development of bacteria that infect the baby’s ear. It is also better compared with other sources like formula or bovine milk. There is also some traditional method like dropping breast milk into a baby’s ear to relieve ear infections, but it needs further research to prove this method.
Using Breast Milk To Treat Eye Infection In The Baby
Eye infection or conjunctivitis in babies are commonly occurring in newborns. Neonatal conductivities could be problematic if they don’t take seriously. But don’t worry, early treatment to fight these infections is dropping breast milk into her eyes.
Some studies in 2021, found that this kind of treatment doesn’t have any significant difference, despite that, it is considered safe for a baby less than 6 months old. Giving them a lot of breast milk may also improve eye health to deal with other infections that could happen to them.
Prevent Lower and Upper Respiratory Infection
There is much evidence to prove that breastfeeding is good to prevent respiratory infection. Maternal milk provides early protection against infectious bacteria and viruses. As a mother, you should give them enough maternal milk because lack of breast milk is prone to have a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract, based on studies in 2016. Other studies in 2003 suggest that breastfeeding in the first 4 months has less risk of hospitalization caused by respiratory infection.
Lower Gastrointestinal Infection Risk
Newborn babies are commonly prone to have digestive problems since its related to their underdeveloped gastrointestinal system. Some disease such as Necrotize enterocolitis (NES) is typically found in babies under 6 month and they could harm babies if don’t treat well.
Breastmilk has an oligosaccharides compound to prevent it happen to babies. Studies found that providing exclusive maternal milk regularly in the early 6 months could reduce the risk 10 times than babies who don’t have enough of it. Breast milk doesn’t make your baby have stomach upset since it is sterile, ingested easily, and makes the essential need for baby. There are almost no cases of the baby having diarrhea during breastfeeding in the early months. Some cases of NES could occur unless you give them unsterile formula as a maternal milk substitute. So, be careful to give milk to our loved ones.
Don’t Worry About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a kind of unwanted disorder for every parent that couldn’t be detected and its causes are still unknown. Some people say that lack of brain development or a specific infection could trigger this disease. In spite of that, it can be prevented by offering them exclusive breast milk. Based on studies in 2011, breastfeeding infants have less risk of SIDS. Maternal milk also provides some nutrition and good microbial to ensure the baby’s growth. Because of that, We encourage moms to give them plenty of breastmilk to enhance their health.
If your baby doesn’t have exclusive maternal milk, it could raise the risk of hospitalization. Why? Well, It is related to the development of baby health in the first month.
Breast milk supplies them some nutrition to make strengthen antibodies, refine the metabolism system, and promote the neurotransmission system, so they can protect themselves again malicious substances or disorders. The small amount of nutrition couldn’t provide them enough protection and they were prone to getting sick which lead to hospitalization. That’s why you should give them plenty of maternal milk to prevent unnecessary bills and save it for future plans.
Adjusting Their Health in Childhood and Adulthood
As a parent, you want to give them the best start in their life. Granting them exclusive breast milk in the first 6 months is the first step to developing and adjusting a proper healthy body. Just take it as the best investment for them in later days. There is some health benefit for their future as follow:
- Reduce allergy – Breastfeeding gives an essential component that the baby doesn’t have after birth. Introducing some important substances to babies could reduce the risk of allergy reaction at a later age.
- Reduce the risk of diabetes – Proper breastfeeding could improve insulin production and prevent insulin resistance for a later time.
- Less to have cavities in early childhood – Cavities are related to the thin enamel layer that eats up the teeth. Maternal milk provides essential nutrition and mineral to protect teeth from that. However, along with ages in children, they may eat various meals such as candy. Supervising them is also important to prevent the development of the cavity.
- Fewer risk of chronic gastrointestinal disease – Proper digestive tract growth could prevent diseases such as colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- Less risk to have cardiovascular and heart disease – Breast milk provides enough information and protection to maintain the cardiovascular system. It also could prevent some heart-related disease risk for later age.
The Benefit of Breastfeeding For Mom
It is not just babies who have the benefit of breastfeeding, mom also would be helped from it such as lowering the risk of chronic disease, preventing postpartum depression, etc. Here are the health benefits for moms during breastfeeding.
Learning Baby Cues and Improve Maternal Intimacy With The Baby
The step of motherhood started from the pregnancy period until they grow in society. Sure it sometimes would be messy stuff as they grow up but that experience can’t be reversed. Moreover, bonds between baby and mom after giving birth are stronger over time.
You may learn something new to know how to communicate with your baby. One or two cues that your baby makes a cute gesture mean they need a mother beside them. Making stronger bonds during breastfeeding is as important as when they are still in fetus form.
As for additional information, if you do lay-back breastfeeding position, whole body mother temperature will keep up with the baby’s needs. Skin-to-skin contact is needed both baby and mom to ensure safety and help reduce behavioral problems during its first year. There are also many breastfeeding positions you should try to comfort both baby and moms.
Promote Healthy Body Weight for Both Mom and Baby
First breast milk has all nutrients that a baby needs in the first place including the probiotic effect to improve ‘good’ bacteria within the colon. Leptin and some kind of oligosaccharides are the main compounds to develop baby growth, reduce ‘bad’ bacteria, and promote the gastrointestinal system in babies. A healthy stomach tract in babies will enhance nutrient absorption when they start to consume hard food. This milk is also related to babies’ growth and their appetite. A baby that has exclusive breast milk could have good posture and prevent obesity. This milk has nutrition to keep enough baby need without making them full.
Is this benefit just for the baby only? Of course not, it also has both benefits for mother and baby. As for the mother, breastfeeding could gradually return your original weight. In general, it could burn fat up to 500 calories a day (equivalent to losing 200 grams). It doesn’t look so promising but some research finds that mothers could regain their normal weight within a postpartum period (7-9 months after delivery). You can add a little exercise to your routine that could speed up losing weight. So, don’t worry, you will own your posture again.
Could Reduce Risk of Some Disease For Moms
It’s not children only who has the benefit of breastfeeding, mom also has the same thing to reduce or prevent some disease. Here are some health benefits for moms if you provide them with breastmilk.
Prevent breast and ovarian cancer
Breastfeeding also gives benefits to health to prevent chronic diseases like cancer. Why? Some researchers believe that hormones during breastfeeding could lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer by inducing the production of the antioxidant compounds within the body to prevent that.
It is not a rare case mother lost some blood during the birth process and may need a blood supply. Even after that event, some moms may have immersed blood loss and get anemia. Breastfeeding may relieve the symptom and gradually heal up the birth wound. Certain hormones push up the blood cell production to relieve the mom’s burden after delivery.
Prevent mental disorders after birth
There are many pros and cons linked to breastfeeding and postpartum depression. Some essential hormones are also related to both of them. For example, dopamine (happy hormone) is a component to makes breast milk, therefore the mom would have less dopamine to maintain mood and feel sad in some cases. However, some expert also believes that breastfeeding also improves this hormone to feel pleasant and happy.
Lower blood pressure
Another benefit of oxytocin during breastfeeding is lowering blood pressure and it has a long-last effect both for babies and moms. For this reason, mom may have a lower risk of high blood pressure. Moreover, if it is backed with consuming food that could reduce your blood pressure during pregnancy.
May reduce risk of osteoporosis
Breastfeeding may reduce bone density since some calcium is given to the baby. However, it will strengthen bone in a certain way. Calcium-rich food can help replace the lost bone density and also improve calcium absorption in the gut. Moreover, the more you have a child, the stronger your bone will be.
May have a lower risk of arthritis and lupus
Studies believed that breastfeeding mom has lower rheumatoid arthritis since its related to female hormones after delivery. Moreover, breastfeeding for more than 2 years have a great impact to prevent other related diseases such as lupus and many more.
Breastfeeding also could reduce or prevent diabetes for mom. Some research suggests that breastmilk production could affect insulin secretion and regulation of glucose in the blood. Moreover, new evidence found that secondhand sugar from mothers with diabetes may be mixed in breastmilk in a good way. However, it doesn’t affect significantly to the baby and it rather has a good way to introduce fructose in maternal milk.
Breastfeeding Can Improve The Uterus To Contract
During pregnancy, Uterus expands multiple folds from the original size. After delivery, it automatically shrinks to normal size. However, how last it takes time to go back? It depends on some hormone such as oxytocin. These hormones are special to women for reducing bleeding during delivery, as mood control, and also help involution of the uterus. Breastfeeding could risen this hormone to help the body regain its original size like before pregnancy.
Hold Up Menstruation Period
As breastfeeding period in the early month after delivery, the uterus also will regain its original size and prevent endometriosis or its known as menstruation. In this state, It helps the mother to prevent having another baby, relieve stomach pain in certain periods, and enjoy the time with the baby.
Normally, it will take up to 8 weeks after giving birth to regain the menstruation cycle. However, if you are in the breastfeeding period, it can hold up the menstruation period until breastfeeding is finished.
Budget-friendly and Good For The Environment
Maternal milk is good for the baby since it is get-a-go to be consumed and it always has the right temperature, is clean, and free. Yes, it’s a free service for babies. The amount and taste of breast milk is depending on what food moms eat. The bond between mother and baby will induce milk production. Moreover, it’s usually available in the right amount to the baby anytime and anywhere.
What does breastfeeding have to do with the environment? Well, it really good for the environment. Firstly, you don’t have to clean the bottle since using soap could pollute the soil and water. Secondly, breast milk has a good pack and keeps sterile that there is less waste product been used to keeps baby needs. Lastly, maternal milk temperature will keep up with the baby’s needs, so you don’t have to heat up the formula and waste the energy.
Breastfeeding is important for both baby and mom since it is essentially needed at the first 6 months. Mom produces exclusive breastmilk called colostrum in the first 5-7 days after delivery to provide protection and ensure baby growth. Moreover, a baby who has 6 months of full breastfeeding has a stronger body and better brain performance.
Mother also has its benefit during breastfeeding such as reducing certain diseases, preventing postpartum depression, burning fat, etc. This information about breastfeeding that important benefits for both babies and moms are presented to encourage other moms to provide plenty of maternal milk for babies as a health investment asset for their future.
 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0271531702003731 – colostrum benefit for baby
 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.657422/full – breastfeeding and its relation with IQ
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447027/ – Breastmilk is abundant with immune compound