Author: Phr. Tay
Breastfeeding or nursing is the milk feeding of babies or young children from a woman’s breast. It is back in action after being replaced with formula-feeding for quite some times due to numerous proven benefits. Breast milk provides optimum nutrition needed for baby’s growth and development where the content is made up of a balance blend of fat, sugar, water and protein. Who Health Organization (WHO) recommends that mother should breastfeeding exclusively for six months and this practice can be seen in most local hospital setting. So, what’s so great about breastfeeding?
In general, human milk costs lesser than formula milk since it’s free and not a single penny will be spent. Also, it is convenience and hassle-free. All the mummies need to do is to latch the baby to her breast and voila, baby is fed. This can save their time on preparing and warming the feeding bottle especially during midnight. Also, nursing provides skin to skin relationship between mother and baby and this creates unique bond that helps mothers to understand their baby better.
Let’s look at the effects on babies. Breastfeeding babies are categorized as healthier babies compared to formula-feeding. This is because breast milk contains natural antibodies and colostrums that can help to increase babies’ immune system making them more resistant to disease and infection such as pneumonia, cold and diarrhea. Besides that, breastfed children have lower risk of developing allergies such as eczema and lactose intolerance. Also, the American Academy of Paediatrics states that breastfeeding helps to lower the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Childhood obesity can be prevented if baby is breastfed and breast milk can serve as a long term protection against Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Some studies have found that breastfeeding may increase baby’s IQ in later childhood.
The most significant result that mothers can gain from breastfeeding is able to lose pregnancy weight and gain back pre-pregnancy body figure faster. Nursing burns extra calories and might used up to 500 calories a day. For example, human milk contains 20 calories per ounce and if mummy feeds her baby 20 ounces a day, she may use up to 400 calories. Nursing gives better and quick healing post delivery. Hormone oxytocine is released during breastfeeding and it helps to shrink the uterus to its regular size faster and reduce portpartum bleeding. Mummy will have long term protection against breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer too. Breastfeeding increases the absorption of calcium in the body and thus, lower the risk of developing osteoporosis.
In short, the benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable and unquestionable. It is never too late for pregnant ladies to start to consider nursing after knowing all these information. However, some mothers find that it is hard and painful to breastfeed especially when they encounter issues like soreness, blocked ducts and inflamed breast, while some don’t enjoy the idea of nursing their babies. Yet, the decision on which feeding method to use depends greatly on mummy’s preference and circumstances.