There are so many reasons why it is best to exclusively breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. It has the right combination of protein, fat, and vitamins that the baby needs to grow.
Feeding your baby with breast milk has many advantages over feeding your baby with infant formula. And exclusively breastfeeding your baby has even more advantages than predominant breastfeeding.
Reasons why you should exclusively breastfeed your baby:
- Breast milk is easy for the baby to digest. It contains proteins, vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help the baby to fight infections. Breastfed babies have fewer diarrhoeal illnesses, ear infections and respiratory illnesses than babies who are predominantly breastfed alongside infant formula.
- Babies who are exclusively breastfed have a reduced risk of developing allergies or asthma.
- It has been found that there is an association between breastfeeding and higher IQs later in childhood. Children who are breastfed are found to have higher IQs than children who are not.
- Breastfeeding helps the mother and baby to bond – the eye contact, physical closeness and skin-to-skin touching.
- There is reduced risk of overweight and obesity in a child who is exclusively breastfed – because the child gets the right amount of food and nutrients, and so gains the right amount of weight. This is also because babies who are breastfed develop healthier eating patterns (eating until they are satisfied) as they grow. In addition, breast milk contains a lower amount of insulin than infant formula; and the actions of insulin leads to the formation of fat in the body). Babies who are breastfed have also been found to have higher amounts of a hormone – called leptin – which helps to regulate their appetite.
- It also aids in preventing or reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Breastfeeding a child helps to reduce the risk of that child developing certain cancers.
Never forget this: Breastfeeding has benefits for the mother, not only for the baby.