The benefits of breastfeeding start on day one and last for years, probably for life. Anything that researchers describe as an advantage of breast feeding can also be described as a risk associated with artificial feeding. Of course it’s up to you whether you breastfeed or not and for how long, but holding back information and minimizing the differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding keeps parents from being able to make informed decisions about their infant’s care. There are so many scientifically proven benefits of breastfeeding, that when you see them listed, it’s surprising that not everybody who can breastfeed does. If you can breastfeed your baby, that’s the best way to go.
Proteins are the key to growth Proteins in your milk are as different from those in cow’s milk (or other animal milks) as you are from a cow. Protein is mother’s milk is much higher in nutritive value than in based on cow’s milk formula, and is perfectly suited to the human baby digestive system.
Amino acids and taurine Proteins break down into amino acids, the building blocks of body tissue. Your milk contains essential amino acids in the proper proportions that your baby needs.
Taurine is amino acid that has an important role in the development of brain tissue and the retina of the eye. It is virtually absent in cow’s milk or artificial milk.
Fats provide energy for growth and more The specific types of fatty acids in human milk like DHA and ARA, cholesterol and lactose are important to the development of the brain and nervous system. DHA and ARA are associated with better visual and cognitive development in infants. Formula manufacturers have begun to add DHA and ARA to artificial infant milks, though research has yet to demonstrate that it will make a difference in baby’s development.
Vitamins and minerals Human milk is the best and most balanced source of vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium and vitamin D. They are essential to baby’s growth and health and much better absorbed by your baby than vitamins and minerals in infant formula.
Human milk – an arsenal against illness. Public health experts have long been aware that babies who are not breastfed are more vulnerable to infections, chronic illness and allergies. The immunological protection that comes with breastfeeding involves hormones, enzymes, growth factors, live cells, proteins, fats, immunoglobulins, and other special ingredients. It becomes more and more apparent to researchers that artificial milk cannot compare with the real thing.
Jaw, teeth, and facial development. Your baby’s exercise in eating may affect the shape of his face, his teeth and his smile. The sucking techniques used in bottle – feeding do not involve as many muscles and may lead to underdeveloped facial structure.
Proven benefits to mothers’ health: Breastfeeding women tend to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight more rapidly. Women who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer before they reach are less likely to suffer osteoporosis and therefore fractures in later life.
The risk of type 2 diabetes is less. Post-partum depression is less likely.
No product has ever been as time-tested as mother’s milk. Mothers who breastfed their babies centuries ago may not have known why their milk was so important for their babies. But the wonderful closeness of nursing and the joy of watching their little ones grow big and strong surely confirmed what they knew in their hearts – that what babies need is mother’s milk and mother herself.
For More Information:
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding La Leche League International
The Essential First Year Penelope Leach – Milkful