Benefits Of Breastfeeding

What is Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is when you feed your baby with breast milk, usually directly from your breast. It is also called nursing. Deciding to breastfeed is an individual matter. It is also one that is likely to seek opinions from friends and family.

Many medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend exclusive breastfeeding (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. After the introduction of other foods, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding until the first year of the baby's life.

How often you should breastfeed your baby depends on whether your baby prefers small, frequent feedings or longer feedings. This will change as your baby grows. Newborns often want to feed every 2-3 hours. By 2 months, it is common to feed every 3-4 hours, and by six months, most babies feed every 4-5 hours. You and your baby are unique, and the decision to breastfeed is up to you. 

Signs Your Baby Is Hungry

One of the most common ways your baby will tell you that he is hungry is to cry. Other signs that your baby is ready to feed include:

  • Licking their lips or sticking out their tongue
  • Rooting, which is moving their jaw, mouth, or head to look for your breast
  • Putting their hand in their mouth
  • Opening their mouth
  • Fussiness
  • Sucking on things

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Baby

Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for babies. It has an almost perfect mix of vitamins, proteins and fats – everything your baby needs to grow. And all of this is provided in a more easily digestible form than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of developing asthma or allergies. Also, babies who are exclusively breastfeed without formula for the first 6 months have fewer symptoms of ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and doctor visits.

Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. In addition, physical proximity, skin-to-skin touch, and eye contact help your baby bond with you and feel secure. Breastfed babies are more likely to gain weight as they grow rather than become overweight babies. The AAP says that breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It is also believed to reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer, but more research is needed.

Breastfeeding Benefits For The Mother

Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you to lose weight faster during pregnancy. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding beyond 1 year and especially for 2 years in the mother has continued benefits. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It can also reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

Since you don't need to buy and measure formula, sterilize nipples, or hot bottles, this saves your time and money. It also gives you regular time to rest quietly with your newborn as a bond.

Is Your Baby Getting Enough Milk?

Many breastfeeding moms wonder if their babies get enough milk for good nutrition. If your baby is getting enough breast milk, they should:

  • Not lose more than 7% of your birth weight in the first few days after delivery
  • Watch the contents for about 1-3 hours between feedings
  • Wetting  atleast 6 to 7 diapers a day with very light or clear urine until 7-10 days old.

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