Breastfeeding is – for many reasons – considered the best diet for a baby.
1) Breast milk is a complete and a natural diet right from birth; it strengthens the immune system of your child.
Breast milk contains a combination of protective factors including antibodies and prebiotic oligosaccharides that help protect the child from illnesses such as stomach irritation or ear infections. Breast milk also helps protect an infant from children’s asthma.
Prebiotic oligosaccharides that are naturally found in breast milk are special nutrients that support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. An adequate amount of these bacteria help the body fight harmful bacteria and thus strengthen the child’s natural defenses from the inside. They also contribute to a healthy digestion and soften the stool so that the child can pass stool more easily.
Your child needs a constant supply of polyunsaturated fatty acid that he gets from birth from your breast milk, because they help his brain, eye and nervous system development. Therefore, you should continue to eat foods like fish, which are rich on polyunsaturated fatty acids. If for any reason you can’t breastfeed, choose a formula that has added polyunsaturated fatty acids referred to as AA or DHA.
2) Your body creates just as much milk as your child needs.
The volume of breast milk that your body produces correlates with how hungry your child is and the composition of it is modified to fit your child’s needs. And not only during a month, but also sometimes from day to day or even from the beginning to the end of one breastfeeding.
3) Breastfeeding helps with bonding.
The simple act of holding your child while breastfeeding is nature’s way of encouraging you to a lot of physical contact, to talking, eye contact and rocking. This closeness between a mother and her child provides warmth and comfort and also stimulates all five senses of your baby – touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste.
When a child is born, his eyes are only able to focus at a distance of only 20-37 cm. Breastfeeding brings him close enough to you that he can watch your features and facial expressions and will learn to recognize you while also developing basic abilities that will help the development of his sight, attention and concentration.
4) Breastfeeding is healthy for you too.
Breastfeeding stimulates the release of a hormone called oxytocin. When your child latches on for the first time, this hormone triggers milk flow and also the uterus starts contracting. This contracting protects you from postpartum bleeding and helps the uterus return into its original size. The hormone oxytocin – sometimes known as the “love hormone” – also has a positive influence on your feelings; thanks to it, you feel relaxed and satisfied while breastfeeding. So breastfeeding is a calming thing for both of you.
Breastfeeding is also a natural and healthy way to get rid of the excess fat stored during pregnancy. A gradual weight loss is always safer and studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers reach their previous weight sooner and are more likely to stay at their target weight.
Recent studies have shown that breastfeeding has other long-term benefits to your body as well. Besides psychological benefits like decreased stress, it also helps metabolism and lowers the risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) or breast or ovary cancer. It also postpones the return of the menstrual cycle, which means your iron count will not decrease, and you will have a low chance of getting pregnant (although we want to remind you that it’s not considered an effective birth control method).