5 Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastmilk is the perfect first food for your baby. Mother’s milk is a personalized formula containing all the right nutrients that your child needs to grow and develop. As your little one grows, the milk will modify to what he or she needs and act as a supplemental set of nutrients as you begin to implement solid foods into baby’s diet.
1. Breastmilk is the best milk.
The nutrients in breastmilk are unmatched by any other first food your baby can receive. Unlike formula, breastmilk is soft on your child’s body. It has just the right amount of nutrients for infants, proving to be great for brain growth and nervous system development, especially for premature babies. Nutrients found in breastmilk include fat, protein, sodium, calcium, and iron.
2. It boosts baby’s immune system.
Breastmilk is a strong illness-inhibiting food. The anti-infective properties strengthen the immune system to prevent harmful bacterial growth. Mother’s milk directly protects against mild to severe infections, preventing hospitalizations. It also works against other conditions, including digestive, respiratory, and ear infections.
3. It balances baby’s belly.
Breastmilk plants good bacteria into the digestive system to build a strong, healthy baby. The bacteria your infant receives comes directly from both the milk and the skin on the breast. Physicians have advised that after introducing your baby to solid foods around the 6-month marker, it’s best to keep breastfeeding so baby continues to receive the beneficial bacteria, which protects against allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gastrointestinal issues.
4. Breastmilk is easily digestible.
Mother’s milk is perfect for baby's developing digestive tract. Your child is able to break down breastmilk better than formula and use less energy doing so. In saving this energy, your child can then use it to get rid of any components he or she might have difficulty digesting. The nature of breastmilk is gentle, easily absorbed, and well-suited for your baby’s system. This gives your child more fuel for better body function and development.
5. Breastfeeding benefits mom, too!
All the benefits aren’t just for your baby; mothers receive many health benefits as well. While breastfeeding, your body burns calories, which can help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. Additionally, breastfeeding lowers your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers as well as diabetes later in life.
Make an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group OB/GYN or pediatrician, or meet with a board-certified lactation consultant at one of our Family Birthing Centers for support from day one. CHI St. Luke’s Health offers breastfeeding support groups at our Sugar Land Hospital and breastfeeding classes at The Woodlands Hospital.
Feel free to utilize our Breastfeeding Chart to keep track of the times you breastfeed.