Common discussions among pregnant women and nursing mothers border on whether to feed their babies partially or exclusively.These few facts will enlighten you as to the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.
1. Breast milk is safe, reliable, and contains all the nutrients your baby needs for 6months in sufficient quantity
If the breastfeeding technique is satisfactory, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life meets the energy and nutrient needs (See Effective Breastfeeding Technique and How to produce more Breast Milk)
2. Breast milk is always the right temperature.
With Breast milk, there is no need to boil or refrigerate to achieve a certain temperature; it comes with the right temperature for your baby
3. Breast milk requires no preparation.
You don’t need to buy anything to prepare breast milk, neither do you need to spend extra time combining things to make breast milk, it is readily available
4. Breast milk provides the infant with immune factors manufactured to fight illnesses specific to the mother’s and infant’s environment.
Breast milk and colostrum contain antibodies and anti-infective factors that are not present in infant formulas making babies that are not breastfed more at risk of developing diseases with an immunological basis, including asthma and other atopic conditions
5. It lowers the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases in later years
The longer you breastfeed your baby, the lower the risk of developing chronic diseases in later years
6. Breast milk contains substances essential for optimal development for your baby’s brain.Substances in breast milk have effects on both cognitive and visual function. Studies showed scores of cognitive function on average 3.2 points higher among children who were breastfed compared with those who were formula fed.
7. Breast-milk provides protection against early childhood infections
Breast milk helps in preventing childhood infections and diseases because of its immunological characteristics and it also reduce the duration of infection
8. Breastfeeding helps prevent growth faltering and short stature.
Artificially breastfed babies or babies that are not breastfed may suffer from malnutrition which can affect their linear growth during infancy and later in life.
9. Lowers the risk of deaths in children.
Research studies show that babies that are not breastfed are more likely to die within first month of life. Babies that are not exclusively breastfed are also more likely to die from childhood illnesses especially diarrhea and pneumonia. Breastfeeding also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
10. Benefits to you as a mother…
Early initiation of breastfeeding helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage, there are also rising evidences that breastfeeding of infants can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
Please Note:Breastfeeding should be initiated within an hour after birth, except in cases where the mother is ill or unable to breastfeed, and until 2 years of age.(Recommendation by World Health Organization)