Medical Perspectives | Others

September 21, 2020



It is said that breastfed babies get the ideal nutrition as it has everything a baby needs to grow–vitamins, protein and fat.[1] Many medical professionals even recommend breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for babies for the first 6 months of life.

 

What Breastfeeding Does for Babies

  • Reduces risk of infections[2]
  • Protects babies from various viruses and illnesses, including ear infections, lower respiratory diseases, meningitis and stomach viruses[3]
  • Reduces risk of developing "certain childhood cancers", more likely from the antibodies which boost the immune system[4]
  • Helps protect from allergies, as some elements only found in breastmilk "provide a layer of protection to a baby's intestinal tract"[5]
  • Boosts mental development and intelligence[6]

 

And while breastfeeding is good for the baby, it benefits the mother as well, as it helps the post-partum body get back to pre-pregnancy conditions.[7] The emotional satisfaction and fulfillment that a mother experiences when nursing her child is beyond compare, but aside from that there are other health benefits that comes from breastfeeding for mothers.

 

How Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers

  • Burns additional calories which contributes to faster pregnancy weight loss.[8]
  • Facilitates recovery from childbirth through the release of the hormone oxytocin during breastfeeding. This hormone helps the uterus get back to its regular size and also help in reducing post-pregnancy bleeding.[9]
  • Protects against breast and ovarian cancer[10]
  • Reduces the risk of developing some diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.[11]

 

With such beneficial health gains from breastfeeding, it is no surprise that the World Health Organization has been actively promoting breastfeeding as the best nutrition for infants and young children. If breastfeeding were practiced more widely around the world, the WHO estimate is that "about 820,000 child lives would be saved every year".[12]

 

 

[1] WebMD.com. [2017, December]. Breastfeeding Overview. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#1-2

 

[2] NHS.uk. [2017, February]. Benefits of Breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/benefits-breastfeeding/

 

[3] BabyCenter Staff. [n.d.] How breastfeeding benefits you and your baby. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc#articlesection1

 

[4] BabyCenter Staff. [n.d.] How breastfeeding benefits you and your baby. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc#articlesection1

 

[5] BabyCenter Staff. [n.d.] How breastfeeding benefits you and your baby. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc#articlesection2

 

[6] BabyCenter Staff. [n.d.] How breastfeeding benefits you and your baby. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc#articlesection2

 

[7] WebMD.com. [2017, December]. Breastfeeding Overview. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#1-3

 

[8] WebMD.com. [2017, December]. Breastfeeding Overview. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#1-3

 

[9] Healthychildren.org. [2016, July]. Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom. Retrieved from https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Benefits-of-Breastfeeding-for-Mom.aspx

 

[10] BabyCenter Staff. [n.d.] How breastfeeding benefits you and your baby. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_how-breastfeeding-benefits-you-and-your-baby_8910.bc#articlesection2

 

[11] Healthychildren.org. [2016, July]. Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom. Retrieved from https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Benefits-of-Breastfeeding-for-Mom.aspx

 

[12] World Health Organization. [2017, August]. 10 facts on breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/en/

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