Discover the 8 Benefits of breastfeeding and side effects.
Help your baby reach his full potential by feeding him breast milk from day 1.
Breast milk is essential for the growth of your little one and, although the decision to feed your newborn (breastfeeding) with it is very personal, we want you to know that several experts recommend feeding your baby exclusively with breast milk, during the first 6 months.
To support your motherhood to the fullest, below, we will explain what the benefits of breastfeeding are and we will give you some tips so that you and your baby enjoy this special moment to the fullest.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and dozens of international scientific organizations, breast milk is more than nutritious food, because in it your baby finds the perfect balance between flavor, consistency, vitamins, minerals, nutrients (macro and micro) and other essential elements.
While it is possible to express your breast milk, thus indirectly feeding your little one, several studies show that breastfeeding your baby is an experience that provides dozens of benefits, not only for your baby but also for you as a mom. Know the most important!
Breast milk is the ideal food for your newborn, thus displacing formulas, cow’s milk, pure water, or any type of infusion. There is simply no comparison!
However, before producing mature breast milk, your breasts will begin to produce colostrum, a yellowish substance, a precursor to milk, that contains large amounts of protein, insulin, and EGF.
After some time you will begin to produce breast milk with all the powerful nutrients that we already know.
Breast milk is also important because it gives your baby his first line of defense against bacteria and viruses.
This is especially the case when breast milk is still colostrum, as it contains large amounts of immunoglobulin A (IgA), a powerful antibody that strengthens the respiratory and gastric passages, and is closely related to allergies.
When you, as a mother, are exposed to viruses and bacteria, your body begins to produce antibodies that are transmitted directly to your little one during breastfeeding.
Antibodies in breast milk are the main reason why it is considered superior to infant formulas.
Numerous studies have shown that babies who are not breastfed are often at increased risk of health problems such as infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
Some studies have proven that exclusive breastfeeding of your baby (when you only feed him with breast milk) helps reduce your baby’s risk of suffering from some diseases, protecting him even in adulthood. Among the diseases that breast milk helps prevent are:
Crib Death Syndrome: A reduction in risk of up to 36% during the first year, and 50% during the first month.
Diabetes: Breastfeeding for up to 3 months is associated with a reduction in type 1 diabetes (up to 30%) and type 2 diabetes (up to 40%).
Celiac disease: The risk of developing celiac disease is reduced by up to 52% if the baby has been breastfed the first time he is exposed to gluten.
Colds and infections: 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding can reduce the risk by up to 63%.
Gastric infections: Breastfeeding is related to a reduction of up to 64% of the risk in your baby.
Some studies suggest a close relationship between breastfeeding your baby and their cognitive development. Especially in premature babies, who are at higher risk of developmental problems.
This relationship, it is theorized, is due to intimate contact between the baby and its mother.
The touch, the caresses, the aromas, and the visual contact, everything adds up! Among the most relevant results, it was found that babies who were fed with breast milk had a higher intelligence score and were less likely to have developmental and learning problems.
In addition to the important benefits already mentioned, breastfeeding also has some benefits for moms. Among the most important ones you might want to consider:
While some moms have reported significant weight gain while breastfeeding (especially during the first three months), others have reported the opposite: significant weight loss, apparently without explanation.
This may be related to the caloric demands (about 500 calories a day) of a nursing mother’s body. However, this phenomenon is not immediate, nor should it be considered a substitute for the recommended diet and exercise for weight loss.
During pregnancy, the uterus expands to hold the baby for 9 months. Unfortunately, the uterus does not return to size once the baby is born and it can take up to 6 months for optimal recovery, known as uterine involution.
Surprisingly, some studies have shown that breastfeeding promotes time to involution through the production of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes uterine contractions and reduces bleeding.
Most women who have just given birth suffer from episodes of sadness, anxiety, and melancholy.
These disappear after a few days and do not require treatment. This is not the case with postpartum depression, which tends to cause more severe symptoms and last longer.
It has been proven that the presence of oxytocin, and other hormonal changes that breastfeeding generates (related to maternal feelings), tend to reduce the effects of postpartum depression, in the short and long term, and help mothers to relate better to their babies.
This could explain why a study found that mothers who breastfed their little ones were less likely to experience maternal neglect and abuse than those who refused.
Some studies have found that the total time a woman spends breastfeeding her baby is linked to a 28% reduction in the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It is estimated that for every year a mother spends breastfeeding, she is 4.3% less likely to suffer from breast cancer.
But they are not the only conditions in which evidence has been found that breastfeeding helps prevent disease.
Recent study results seem to indicate that breastfeeding also helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
To do this, place him naked on your chest and seek to guide his mouth to your nipple. Naturally, your little one will begin to suck the colostrum and, later, the mature milk that you produce.
Don’t worry if the first few attempts feel uncomfortable or you notice that your little one doesn’t settle, it will improve over time. Remember that for this bonding practice to work perfectly, the contact has to be direct, without sheets or blankets.
On some occasions, you will notice that your milk production is higher than what your baby requires.
This is normal. If you notice that this is the case and your baby is asleep, take advantage! Collect the surplus with one of our Chicco extractors and store it in Chicco sterilized containers.
This way you or your partner can feed your little one at any time of the day. Something very useful if you need a well-deserved nap.
Remember that breast milk, unlike formula, can be consumed by your baby, without problem, for up to 9 weeks if it was properly stored in the freezer. To prepare it, you only need to thaw it using a water bath or using an electric bottle warmer, if you used a bottle to store it.
Locate a soft, padded place in your home that provides stability and support. Adapt it with pillows, blankets and blankets, and entertainment for you, because there you will spend many hours in the coming months.
As an extra tip, we recommend keeping hydrogel wipes and discs nearby to relieve any pain.
We recommend the use of nursing pillows, such as Boppy, as it allows you to place your little one, from his first day, in a convenient position about your chest.
Using the pillow will prevent you from slouching by providing relief to your arms and back. Additionally, the pillow always stays cool for your baby and can be used later to help them practice sitting.
There are very few contraindications to breastfeeding, but if you have any questions, consult your pediatrician. The most common contraindications for breastfeeding are:
• Maternal HIV infection.
• Galactosemia of the newborn.
• Medication that contraindicates breastfeeding.
• Consumption of drugs. Consumption of methadone is not a contraindication.
If you liked this content, keep reading our blog for more tips on motherhood and breastfeeding.