Typically, breastfeeding is ideal for infants. Breast milk includes various nutrients, including fat, vitamins, and protein. Additionally, it contains antibodies that help fight bacteria and viruses. It’s a lot easier to digest than the infant formula. Infants who were breastfed were discovered to have lower risks of asthma and allergies. They had fewer respiratory diseases, ear infections, and nausea and are far more likely to have regular weight. Infants who were breastfed were discovered to score eight points higher on IQ tests than infants fed with infant formula.
Breastfeeding Babies Immediately After Birth
Colostrum Benefits for Baby
When you breastfeed your baby immediately upon giving birth, you provide him with a good dose of colostrum, which is also commonly referred to as the ‘first vaccine’ of babies. Colostrum is a sticky yellowish liquid that the body produces immediately after giving birth. It actually comes in before the breast milk. You start to produce this substance as you approach the end of your pregnancy, and your breasts are prepared for lactation. Some women tend to have colostrum drops before they give birth. Sometimes, they hardly notice the leaking when they are in small amounts.
Colostrum is available in high concentrations, which is why it is easy for babies to digest. Its primary function is to protect the baby against infection by coating his intestinal tract and functioning as a barrier to prevent bacterial invasion. It also protects the baby against the diseases that he and his mother have been exposed to. It contains nutrients, making it strongly recommended for babies who are premature or sick. It also serves as a laxative, which helps clean out meconium or the dark-colored stool the baby’s intestines formed before birth. It also helps prevent jaundice.
How Soon After Birth is Colostrum Replaced by Transitional Milk?
After two to five days of the baby’s birth, breast milk changes from colostrum to transitional milk. This milk is more in volume and thinner. It contains antibodies that protect the baby. After ten to fourteen days, the colostrum disappears, but the breast milk continues to produce antibodies. The protein it contains is also easier to digest than the protein found in baby formula or cow’s milk. Thus, the baby becomes less prone to having digestive problems, such as colic and gassiness.
Breastfeeding Babies for Six Months and Over
When you continue to breastfeed your baby for six months, he becomes less likely to experience allergies. By this time, his intestinal tract starts to produce antibodies that coat the intestines and protect him against allergens and foreign proteins. Your breast milk is enough to provide your baby with the nutrients he needs for the first six months of his life. It is also advisable to only start giving him solid foods after at least six months if you have a medical history of allergies.
Breast milk improves the immune system of babies. It reduces their susceptibility to illnesses and lower mortality rates. Basically, the longer you breastfeed your baby, the less likely it will be for him to develop an illness, such as upper respiratory infections and ear infections. It is good news for you because breastfeeding reduces your risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer.
You can continue to breastfeed your baby for as long as you want. By nine months, your baby has already started to go through certain changes, such as teething, sitting up, pulling up, crawling, and eating solid foods. Remember that even if your baby is older and already able to eat solid foods, your breast milk is still vital to his growth. Giving him breast milk allows him to benefit from immunities when he crawls around and puts things in his mouth.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can continue to breastfeed your baby for one year or even more. In fact, they recommend that you do it so that your baby can continue to get health benefits as he grows older. Over six months, breastfeeding protects the baby against diabetes, ulcerative colitis, obesity, Crohn’s disease, high cholesterol, and asthma. Researchers have also found that breastfed babies for at least one year are less likely to have dental problems or require speech therapy.
When you breastfeed your baby for over six months, you do not only provide him with all the nutrients he needs, but you also get to save money. Baby formula is expensive. You also have to spend on nipples, bottles, and additional visits to the doctor. Breastfeeding your baby can help you save a thousand dollars or more during his first year.
Furthermore, extended breastfeeding is more convenient than giving formula to your baby. You have to do some planning, yes. However, it is still much easier to nurse your baby than to prepare bottles and milk. The breastfed baby’s used diapers are also significantly less smell than babies fed with solid food.
Then again, there are instances wherein breastfeeding may not be ideal. You should refrain from breastfeeding if you have HIV because you can pass the virus to your baby through your breast milk. You should also not breastfeed if you have tuberculosis or are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. You should also not breastfeed if you are into marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs or if your baby has galactosemia, which is a rare condition that prevents his body from tolerating the galactose or natural sugar found in breast milk.