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Breastfeeding: The Best Gift You Can Give to Your Child

Breastfeeding may be overwhelming during the first few days, but eventually, one gets the hang of it. It may be difficult for some moms to feed due to poor latch, breast engorgement, or leaking breasts etc which are fairly common problems. While for some mothers, breastfeeding may not be an option due to personal choice,career demand, health reasons, infections or simply because the baby refused it.

Either ways, feeding the baby is the only way a mother can express her emotions and bond with her during the first few days. The benefits of breastfeeding are immense.

Let’s understand more!

Benefits for The Baby

Lower risk for asthma? Check. Reduced ear infections? Check. Bump in IQ? You guessed it right, check.

Breastfeeding baby offers all these benefits and much more.

Breast milk includes all the nutrients in the right amount. Moreover, breast milk adapts to the baby’s needs as it grows. For instance, initially, colostrum is produced — a thick, sticky, and early form of breast milk. It has antibodies and nutrients that your baby needs in the first few days. Colostrum gradually turns to breast milk by the third or fourth day.

Breast milk provides antibodies to help the baby develop immunity. Studies have shown that breastfed babies are at a lower risk of lung, ear, or urinary tract infection than those who are not breastfed adequately.

Breast milk also has a unique type of fat called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that supports development of eyes and brain. The protein in breast milk is also unique, making it easy to digest.

Benefits for The Mother

Breastfeeding is not just beneficial for babies but mothers too. It offers the following benefits:

  • • Lowers the risk of obesity, ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, and diabetes
  • • Acts as a natural birth control method
  • • Aids in burning calories
  • • Helps develop a closer bond with the baby

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends feeding only breast milk for six months. It should continue even after solid foods are introduced, at least for one year.

Feeding When Breastfeeding Is Not Possible

If a mother has cracked nipples or trouble producing enough milk, pumping breast milk supplemented with formula can come in handy. A breast pump can come in very handy for a working mother or a mother struggling to produce enough milk. This helps her to fill and store milk for future use which takes away the pressure. At any cost, a happy mother raises a happy child. Even though we recommend that all new mothers give breast feeding a serious shot, If, for some reason, one is not able to breastfeed her baby, formula milk can be a great option. When the baby is not well fed, she may get irritable, restless and which may drain a mother physically as well as emotionally.

Just remember skin-to-skin touch through snuggling, and good bonding rituals are very important to develop healthy feeding routine from day 1. It is also very important that the partner or the immediate family help a new mom get accustomed to her baby and her body during these first few days. The pressure to feed can lead to exhaustion, lack of confidence, frustration and other emotional issues, which can take away the benefits of breastfeeding. We urge every mother to find her rhythm as she knows what is best for her bundle of joy.