Advantages of breastfeeding outweigh its disadvantages. Along with creating a close bonding between the mother and the baby, breastfeeding helps strengthen the immune system of the baby. Leaf through this article to know breastfeeding advantages and disadvantages, for both the mother and the baby….
A woman’s body starts preparing for milk production during pregnancy. Breastfeeding is the best natural and healthy way of providing for the newborn. Breastfeeding ensures continuous and increased breast milk supply as per requirement. Breastfeeding plays an important role in maintaining the health of the baby and the mother. Breast milk is packed with all the nutrients that are required for the growth of babies and toddlers. The immunological and developmental benefits of breastfeeding are helpful throughout life.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby
- Breast-milk is easily digested by babies, so they don’t have to face the problem of constipation. Moreover, the stools of such babies are mild-smelling.
- Breast-milk exhibits anti-infective properties. So breastfed babies rarely have ear or respiratory system infections, allergies, stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting.
- IQ levels of the breast-fed children are higher than the formula fed children. Adult daughters who were not breastfed are more likely to develop breast cancer. Adults who were not breastfed are more likely to have high cholesterol and asthma.
- Breast-milk composition naturally changes to meet the changing needs of the baby. It is really amazing to know that infants are constantly exposed to a wide variety of tastes through breast-milk, as the mother eats a variety of foods.
- Breast-milk strengthens the immune system of the baby. It has been observed that breastfed children are less likely to be affected by Chrohn’s disease and juvenile diabetes. Similarly, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is rarely noticed in breastfed babies.
- It is one of the wonders of the nature that breast-milk contains all the essential nutrients like protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and sugars, in exact proportion. It meets the needs of the growing infant at every stage. This is one of the important advantages of breastfeeding over formula.
- Breastfed children have strong teeth which are in good shape too. They rarely need orthodontic work such as braces. The overall dental health of the breastfed children is better than formula-fed children This is because of the nutrients in breast-milk and because of the unique sucking action required with breastfeeding as well. Bottle fed children require speech therapy more often than breastfed children.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother
- Breastfeeding is convenient because breast-milk is clean, sterile and always available at the right temperature. It is also more economical than formula feeding.
- Diabetic mothers would require less insulin during the period of lactation. Moreover, moms who don’t breastfeed have greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Breastfeeding significantly reduces a mother’s chances of having osteoporosis and various cancers such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer.
- Moms need to breastfeed immediately after delivery because it helps the uterus to contract and return to its pre-pregnancy position easily and quickly. It also lowers the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
- There is a peculiar relationship between breastfeeding and weight loss. You might be surprised to know that breastfeeding is also a calorie burning activity. Approximately 20 calories are burned to produce an ounce of milk.
- Breastfeeding helps delay the return of most women’s periods (fertility) naturally. One of the main advantages of exclusive breastfeeding for six months (infant is fed with no other liquid or solid) is that mothers are free of menstrual periods for the first six months.
If you consider the pros and cons of breastfeeding, you will notice that breastfeeding actually does not lead to any disadvantages. Sometimes, problem arises when mothers think that supply of breast-milk is insufficient for the baby or when the baby is unable to suck milk. It should be borne in mind that all mothers can produce enough milk for their babies, they just need to know the correct ways of breastfeeding and they need to feed frequently enough. Breast milk is easily and quickly digested and so breast-fed babies need frequent feedings. Formula-fed babies require less feedings. The mother might feel stressed because of more frequent feedings. Knowing about these breastfeeding tips might be helpful in overcoming problems with breastfeeding, if any.
Breastfeeding advantages and disadvantages are more discussed by working mothers. Owing to the busy lifestyle, working mothers find it difficult to breastfeed their babies. Actually, the satisfaction that mothers enjoy after breast-feeding is immeasurable. Mother’s milk is nature’s gift to the child. Many health organizations arrange campaigns to increase the awareness of mothers regarding advantages of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is considered as the best way to reduce the percentage of child deaths.