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Why Is Breastfeeding Important For You And Your Baby?

Grihalakshmi is a popular Malayalam magazine. Gilu Joseph, a poet, actor and model, was featured on the cover of this issue for the International Women's Day. Soon, criticism followed from all over, including Riya Seles, a journalist, who criticized saying it was a cheap publicity stunt.

The magazine cover features a woman model breastfeeding a child.

Putting all the speculations to rest, we will discuss about the importance of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is one of the most natural processes. It is a beautiful and intimate process of feeding babies and young children with milk from a woman's breast.

The World Health Organisation and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breast milk as the greatest thing a mother can give to her child. Also, it is very essential to breast-feed your child during the first 6 months that will have a long-lasting effect on your baby's health and development.

In this article, we will be discussing about breastfeeding.

Things To Know About Breastfeeding

1. Breast Milk Is Healthy

Breast milk is considered healthy because it contains antibodies that can fight illnesses and germs which attack a breastfed baby. Due to this, the breastfed babies get fewer colds, sinus and ear infections. They also have fewer chances of diarrhoea and constipation.

2. Mothers Stay Healthier

You might not know this, but breastfeeding actually helps ward off heart disease, breast and ovarian cancers in women. Breastfeeding releases 'mothering hormones' such as prolactin, which aids to keep the baby blues at bay and oxytocin helps the uterus to contract.

3. Mothers Should Be Healthy

Mothers should keep taking prenatal vitamins, calcium and drink 12 glasses of water a day while nursing. It is because a new mother should stay hydrated and well fed and should eat foods, which are healthy that contain 500 calories.

4. Long-Term Benefits For Children

Breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health to babies and young children, according to the World Health Organisation. Adolescents and adults who were breastfed when they were babies are less likely to be overweight or obese.


Not only babies, even mothers benefit from breastfeeding their newly born child.

Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mothers And Babies

1. Supports The Baby's Growth And Development

Breast milk has the perfect combination of carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins and fats that aid your baby to grow properly. The antibodies, enzymes and hormones present in breast milk make it the best food for the newborns.

2. Strong Bones

Women who breastfeed their child have a lower risk of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Pregnant and lactating women can absorb calcium more efficiently during this period. So, the bones, especially in the hips and spine, will be less prone to bone damage.

3. Boosts The Immune System

Babies who are breastfed for at least four months have a lower chance of developing eczema, asthma and food allergies. It is due to the low-fat, high-protein breast milk that has a positive effect on your child's immunity.

4. Lowers SIDS Risk

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) can be prevented provided if a mother nurses her baby for at least six months. Breastfed babies awaken more easily from sleep, this protects against SIDS. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS by more than 50 percent.

5. Reduces Cancer Risk

Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of cancer in mothers as well as in children. Breast milk provides better protection against illnesses like Hodgkin's disease and lymphoblastic leukaemia.

6. Healthy Digestive System

Babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from diarrhoea and an upset stomach. The combination of nutrients present in breast milk helps babies to develop a healthy digestive system.

7. Mothers Lose Weight

Breastfeeding helps to burn extra calories and reduces stored fat. This helps the new mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy weight. A mother requires an extra 400 to 500 calories daily to nurse a baby and, at the same time, nursing burns up to 500 calories.

8. Reduces Diabetes Risk

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of diabetes in nursing mothers and infants. It also prevents type 1 and type 2 diabetes in mothers and children. Diabetes can lead to nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, heart disease, etc.

9. Better Eyesight

Breastfeeding can also lower the risk of poor eyesight in your child. Newborns who are breastfed have better eyesight, according to a research from the Institute of Child Health in London.

10. Better Healing Post-delivery

The oxytocin is released when you nurse your baby, this helps your uterus to contract and reduce the post-delivery blood loss. Breastfeeding will also help your uterus to return to its normal size more quickly.

Breastfeeding altogether is a very new and different experience for new mothers. The emotional and health factors make it a very significant experience.

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Read more about: pregnancy baby breastfeeding mother
Story first published: Thursday, March 1, 2018, 12:24 [IST]
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