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More and more mums are raising their babies through breastfeeding and doing so for longer. A study by the research firm Nielsen in 2018 found that mothers in Singapore breastfed for an average of 8.1 months in 2018, an increase from the average 6.8 months in a similar study in 2016.
In another survey led by the Health Promotion Board, 79% of the respondents revealed that their awareness of the health benefits of breast milk pushed them to start breastfeeding their babies.
Breastfeeding is the best way to give our infants the best start they can get.
Here are five good reasons why you should start breastfeeding your baby:
Breast milk provides your child with complete nutrition.
Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs during his or her first six months, and its composition gradually adjusts according to your growing child’s nutritional requirements.
Days after giving birth, a mother’s breast secretes a thick and yellowish fluid known as the colostrum, or the early form of breast milk. This substance is high in protein, salt, vitamins, and healthy fats, which helps in the development of your baby’s body parts, including his or her eyes, heart, and stomach.
You can still feed your baby with breast milk after six months as long as it is taken with other foods that are essential to his or her diet. Doctors recommend breastfeeding until a baby is 2 years of age.
Breast milk keeps your babies safe from infection.
Aside from containing a multitude of nutrients, colostrum in breast milk is also rich in antibodies, particularly the immunoglobulin A (IgA).
The mother’s body produces lgA to combat bacteria and other pathogens. This antibody is then transferred to your baby through breastfeeding, and forms a protective coating in your baby’s nose, throat, stomach, and intestines, keeping your child’s immune system strong and free from diseases.
Breastfed babies face lower risks of health issues compared to babies fed on formula. A 2009 Obstetrics and Gynecology review by Dr. Alison Stuebe revealed that formula feeding is associated with increased risks of infectious diseases like pneumonia and other chronic diseases later on in life; he goes on to suggest that breastfeeding should be acknowledged as the biological norm for infant feeding.
Breastfeeding can boost a child’s overall brain development.
While more research needs to be conducted about the correlation between breastfeeding and mental development, previous studies indicate that breastfed babies perform better in IQ tests than formula-fed infants.
A study published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science in 2016 identifies the fatty acids present in breast milk as the cause of improvement for children’s brain performance. In the same study, it was mentioned that breastfeeding does not only contribute to a child’s intellect but also his or her emotional intelligence.
Breastfeeding can aid in losing post-pregnancy weight.
It is not only your baby who benefits from breastfeeding. Mothers can burn around 300 to 500 calories a day during the first three months of nursing.
Breast milk contains approximately 1 calorie per millilitre, so if you can produce up to 30 millilitres of milk per day after your first quarter of nursing, just imagine how much pregnancy weight you can lose! Combining breastfeeding with proper diet and exercise, you will get back into your pre-pregnancy shape in no time.
Breastfeeding speeds up involution.
The process wherein your uterus shrinks back to its original size after pregnancy is called involution. It happens with the help of oxytocin, a hormone released by your body during labour to stimulate uterine muscle contraction.
Oxytocin is also produced through breastfeeding, which in turn decreases the time for the uterus to fully restore its form. It also reduces bleeding and sloughing, allowing you to experience a more convenient postpartum period.
Working mums and mums with medical conditions should never feel discouraged. A breast pump can be a useful tool to ensure that your babies are still exclusively breastfed even when you attend to other responsibilities. It can also reduce pain caused by breast engorgement and allow other family members to bond and help you feed your new baby.
If you are looking into buying your own breast pump and other nursing equipment, check out the high quality baby brands at OurLittleLamb!
Visit us at https://ourlittlelamb.com/