Benefits Of Exclusive Breastfeeding For 6 Months

By: Shabana

Giving birth is the most beautiful thing in the world and women are gifted with this wonderful ability. That's because women have the strength in their bodies to endure the pain experienced during childbirth.

During the nine months of pregnancy, we patiently await the arrival of our little bundle of joy. We make ourselves promise to take the best possible care of our baby and provide the baby with nothing but the best.

We load up on everything ranging from clothes, blankets, diapers, toys and everything to make the baby feel comfortable before its arrival. But the most important thing that the baby needs is the mother's love and nutrition as soon as he/she is born.

benefits of breastfeeding

Nutrition is very crucial for the healthy development of the baby. Right from the time of its inception to the time of birth, a foetus receives all the nutrition it requires from its mother. But after birth, the mother has to make sure that the baby continues to receive the right nutrition, especially in the first six months. Our previous generations used to rely on the best known form of providing nutrition to babies - breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is feeding the baby with the milk of the mother from her mammary glands. Our mammary glands start secreting milk right after the birth. This milk is very important to the baby, as it has a host of antibodies and enzymes that help the baby grow and also stimulate its natural immune system.

But sadly, women nowadays are opting to feed their babies with various infant formulae available in the market. This can be for various reasons. But you should always keep in mind that these formulae can never replicate the nutrients, which are naturally available in a mother's milk.

New mothers may have to go through a lot during the child-birth process. They may have a few anxiety issues too, which can be addressed by an expert. Many mothers have this preconception that breastfeeding will also be very painful for them.

That is why they are apprehensive about the whole process. Breastfeeding is a very natural process and it will also help the mothers bond well with their baby. You may face some discomfort during the nursing period, but this is just a small cost to pay for your baby's good health lifelong.

Here are a few issues that you will face if you are breastfeeding for the first time and also the remedies to get relief from them.

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1) Swollen And Tender Breasts:

This is the most common issue that you may face during breastfeeding for the first time. Your mammary glands continuously produce milk, which will be excess for your new baby. Try squeezing out the extra milk and feed the baby frequently. This will help ease your pain.

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2) Baby Doesn’t Seem To Be Comfortable:

It might take some time for you to figure out the best position for you and your baby. Usually, a semi-reclined position works best. Also, make sure that you hold your baby properly close to your breast, as it will be easier for the baby to latch on.

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3) Painful Spots On The Nipple:

If you notice painful red spots on your nipples, it may be a plugged duct. This may be due to a damaged nipple or a breast infection. Try massaging the breasts and nursing your baby frequently. This will give you some relief.

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4) Blocked Nipples With White Dots At The End:

Your nipples may be blocked before you breastfeed for the first time. Though the milk starts flowing, your baby may not get enough. Just gently squeeze the nipple to open it up. This may happen while you are breastfeeding too if the milk dries up. Gently massage the area and apply some olive oil to it.

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Benefits Of Breastfeeding Your Baby:

Breast milk is the best form of nutrition your baby can receive and doctors may be constantly telling you the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. Even before birth, women are advised to consider breastfeeding for their baby, especially during the first six months.

Every year, thousands of infants die even before reaching their first birthday. This number can significantly be reduced simply by breastfeeding. Therefore, doctors are stressing on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding your baby, at least for the first six months.

Here are the benefits that your baby will receive if he/she is exclusively breastfed for the first six months.

1) The Best Nutrition:
Mother's milk contains all the six nutrition groups and essential nutrients required for the baby to grow. You do not have to provide anything else to the baby when you are breastfeeding, not even water.

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2) Healthy Babies:

Breastfed babies fall sick less often, as mother's milk contains antibodies. Breast milk is also easy to digest and prevents colic and indigestion in babies.

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3) Immunity To Childhood Diseases:

When babies are exclusively breastfed for 6 months, they are immune to many lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, childhood cancers, chest infections and asthma.

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4) Higher IQ:

Recent studies have revealed that breastfed babies develop higher IQs later in life. Nutrients in breast milk increase cognitive functioning and reasoning ability, which develops a higher IQ during adulthood.

Not just the baby, breastfeeding has positive effects on the health of the mother too. Here are certain benefits received by mothers when they are breastfeeding their baby.

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1) Breastfeeding Reduces The Levels Of Stress And Postpartum Depression:

New mothers are prone to postpartum depression. But this can be reduced by breastfeeding. This happens due to the release of the hormone oxytocin while nursing, which reduces the stress levels and promotes relaxation. This in turn increases the volume of breast milk. It is a win-win situation for both the mother and baby.

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2) Helps Prevent Cancers In Mothers:

There are a lot of studies which have proved that breastfeeding mothers are immune to breast and ovarian cancers, which they may develop later on in life. This may be due to structural changes in the breast tissue after breastfeeding.

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3) Helps In Weight Loss:

Breastfeeding is the easiest way in which new mothers can lose their pregnancy weight, as it mobilizes the fat accumulation.

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4) Better Cardiac Health:

Mothers, who breastfeed their babies, have found to have better heart health, as they contain a higher level of good cholesterol in the body. Also, nursing can prevent hardening of the arteries and cholesterol deposits in the vessels of the heart.

Read more about: parenting, breastfeeding
Story first published: Sunday, November 12, 2017, 11:30 [IST]
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