The Facts about Breast Feeding
For working women in particular, breast feeding a new born baby can be fraught with challenges. HEALTH reveals some of the key benefits about why breast feeding is best for your baby.
Breast milk is nearly perfect in its nutritional value, but can also provide feelings of love, comfort, and protection. When a mother makes herself available to nurse her child through a situation that he/she can’t handle alone, the infant will likely develop independence based on faith that the mother will be there to help.
For Optimal Health
Your breast milk helps your infant build a strong immune system and form antibodies to fight off all the germs he encounters. Your milk contains an immunoglobulin (IGA) which coats the lining of the intestines, preventing germs from penetrating. Breast milk also contains thousands of antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic factors, protecting against hundreds of infections and diseases, including E. coli, pneumonia, strep throat, Salmonella, influenza, rotavirus, rubella, mumps, measles, diabetes, meningitis, and even childhood cancers, such as leukemia. In addition to preventing disease, studies show that breastfed toddlers have fewer ear infections, better eyesight, stronger, straighter teeth, and less risk of obesity.
Breastfed Toddlers are Smarter
Breastfed babies and toddlers gain “smart fats” from breast milk, (omega-3 fatty acid or DHA). Studies show that breastfed toddlers develop speech and fine motor skills earlier and show higher IQs, increased reading comprehension, math skills, and scholastic ability, even into adolescence.
Experts support exclusive breast feeding until four to six months of age followed by a slow introduction to solid foods. Mothers intending to breast feed beyond six months need to ensure that they take care to supplement their iron, folate, essential fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and vitamin D to ensure that both they and their little one benefit emotionally, nutritionally, and immunologically from the wonderful experience.