What are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?
Being the sole source of nutrients for the baby is one of the benefits of breastfeeding. Breastmilk is the first food of the baby containing the exact nutrients that the infant needs for growth and development. If you are a breastfeeding mom, ensure to pay attention to your diet or food choices and anything you ingest as most of it may make its way to the baby.
How Long Should A Baby Breastfeed?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should be exclusively breastfed for about six months, followed by continued breastfeeding and the introduction of complementary foods for one year or longer. A breastfed baby is less likely to suffer from ear infections, respiratory illnesses, or diarrhea if he or she is breastfed for six months without formula.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Breastmilk is easily digestible. Mother’s milk is perfect for a baby’s developing digestive tract. Breastmilk is also more efficient at breaking down than formula, which requires less energy. If your child saves this energy, then he or she will be able to eliminate any components he or she has difficulty digesting. This gives your child more fuel for better body function and development.
- Breastmilk is the best for babies. The nutrients in breastmilk are unmatched by any other first food your baby can receive. Premature babies, especially, benefit from its high amount of nutrients, which helps stimulate brain growth and nerve development. Nutrients found in breastmilk include fat, protein, sodium, calcium, and iron.
- Breastfeeding has benefits for mothers too. Mothers receive many health benefits as well. You can lose the weight you gained during pregnancy by breastfeeding because your body burns calories. The benefits of breastfeeding include lower risks of ovarian and breast cancers as well as diabetes.
- It boosts the baby’s immune system. The anti-infective properties of breastmilk strengthen the immune system to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Mild to severe infections are directly prevented by mother’s milk, preventing hospitalization.
- It balances the baby’s belly. Breastmilk plants good bacteria into the digestive system to build a healthy baby. The best way to protect your baby against allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gastrointestinal problems is to continue breastfeeding after introducing solid foods at around 6 months.
How Often Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?
Newborn babies should breastfeed 8–12 times per day for about the first month. It is important to feed your baby frequently during the first few weeks to stimulate milk production. Your baby typically nurses 7 to 9 times a day when he or she is 1 to 2 months old.
In the first few weeks after birth, breastfeeding should be on demand, about once every one to three hours. Others may feed every 90 minutes, while others may not feed for two to three hours. Note that newborns should not go more than about 4 hours without feeding, even overnight.