Benefits of breastfeeding
Childrens Health > Benefits of breastfeeding
It is inevitable that the first crucial decision you will have to make regarding children’s health is whether or not to breastfeed. There are many conflicting opinions regarding this matter, but most doctors claim that breastfeeding has many long-term benefits, both physical and psychological, when it comes to your child’s future.
Breastfeeding is a natural way to improve children’s health, protecting your baby from allergies and infections. Breast milk contains specific antibodies that help protect children from infections and allergies. It contains many types of antibodies and proteins not found in baby formulas, and these substances help protect children from infections and allergies. As a baby matures, he or she begins to formulate his or her own antibodies, but in the interim period breast milk provides crucial protection against bacterial and viruses. Studies show that formula-fed babies tend to have more ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections than breastfed babies, and they also have higher incidences of problems with allergies. Breast-fed babies, on the other hand, have fewer instances of diarrhea, bacterial meningitis and urinary tract infections.
Among the bacteria-fighting proteins found only in breast milk are immunoglobulins, which function as antibodies in the immune system. Levels of these immunoglobulins in a mother’s breast milk adjust to the bacteria and viruses that she comes in contact with, thus making an environmentally-specific formula that protects the baby from local infections. When breastfed, a baby receives the correct levels of these antibodies for exactly what he or she is being exposed to in his or her environment.
Breast milk also contains lactoferrin and lysozyme, proteins that regulate survival of healthy bacteria in the stomach. These proteins have antibiotic qualities and are once again not available in formulas, or are only available in very small quantities. Lactoferrin is highly effective in staving off staphylococci and E. coli.
Current studies are exploring links between non-human milk and allergies in children, as well. Though there is no hard evidence at this time, preliminary studies point to a possible link between formula feeding and eczema and asthma.
Another important quality of breast milk is that its composition changes throughout the day and throughout the breastfeeding cycle. It provides specific, natural nutrients needing for a baby at each age and stage of its development.
Apart from the physical children’s health benefits, there are many psychological benefits reaped from the breastfeeding process. Many claim that a stronger mother-child bond is formed through the process of breastfeeding. Some scientists claim that a baby’s psychological state has a direct effect on his or her immune system; thus, if a child achieves a greater sense of comfort and develops a healthier bond through breastfeeding, then his or her immune system will benefit from the process via greater psychological health.
Finally, the financial benefits of breastfeeding are an added bonus when you choose to breastfeed. Breast milk is not only a healthy way to insure that your baby obtains all of the nutrients he or she needs, but it is also easy way to save on the many costs of raising a family. Overall, breastfeeding is an excellent way to get children’s health off to a great start.