Breastfeeding – For a Healthy Child and a Healthy Mother
Human beings aren’t born prepared for life outside the mother’s womb. Of all mammals, humans are least mature at the time of birth. Some mammals are capable of walking right after birth, but humans need a few months to be ready for independent walking. During this time, the child is completely dependent on its mother, and breastfeeding connects them.
While many factors affect a child’s development, breastfeeding is the most important. Why? Breast milk has the most beneficial combination of nutrients, is best suited for the child, and has a positive effect on physical and intellectual development.
It has been proven that babies breastfed for the first three months show better psychological, physical, and social development than bottle-fed babies.
A baby can see a distance of about 30 cm, i.e., they can see their mother when feeding. During natural feeding, changing the breast or changing the position during feeding stimulates motor development and development of the child’s vision. The development in children who are bottle-fed is weaker because the child sees only the bottle or other vessels from which milk is served.
The mother’s food provides the child with the nutrients best suited to its needs at the initial stage of its development. That is why proper nutrition is so important. If you have questions about nutrition, our experts will help you prepare a proper and balanced menu.
Breastfeeding benefits for the child
- Mother’s milk is easily digested by the child’s digestive system (within three hours) while infant formula stays much longer in the stomach (up to four hours).
- It provides all the necessary nutrients for the child.
- Natural growth hormones in breast milk ensure proper growth of the child.
- It prevents malocclusion. The soft breast tissue easily adapts to the child’s mouth. Light and regular compression of the breast tissue and the child’s tongue that presses it against the palate, modeling it gradually and regularly, facilitates the proper development of the gums, and later the proper placement of the teeth.
- It ensures proper development of facial muscles.
- It helps build strong immunity. A strong immune system reduces the child’s susceptibility to allergies and other diseases.
- It provides defenses for the immune system. If the child is ill, the mother’s milk contains antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic antibodies that help protect the child against E. coli, pneumonia, pharyngitis, salmonella, rotavirus, rubella, allergies, asthma, mumps, measles, diabetes, meningitis, and many cancers.
- It reduces the risk of developing celiac disease by three to four times.
- It builds a strong emotional bond between a mother and child. Breastfeeding promotes the child’s empathy, their relationships with others, compassion, and IQ.
- Breastfed babies are calmer and cry less.
- It increases the sucking reflex or searching, which brings benefits for the mother and the child. The milk production will also continue.
- It reduces the risk of sudden death of an infant or a child (cot death) by three times.
Breastfeeding benefits for the mother
- It prevents hemorrhages in the postpartum. The uterus shrinks better and faster.
- The bloody secretion postpartum is released faster. The whole process takes much lesser time.
- It accelerates metabolism and removal of excess fat from the body (the mother usually returns to pre-pregnancy weight).
- The body’s energy resources are consumed. There is no need to eat large amounts of food.
- Breastfeeding has a calming effect on the mother. During feeding, the hormone oxytocin is released, which reduces cortisol and blood pressure. Oxytocin also relieves stress, reduces anxiety, increases the level of trust, and has a calming effect.
- Breastfeeding causes a lack of menstruation, but it should not be treated as the only method of contraception.
- Women who have breastfed for at least three months reduce their risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis by about 50% and ovarian cancer by about 25%. Breast milk contains T lymphocytes that produce interferon when they come into contact with viruses. Interferon protects against cancer in the long term.
- Reconstruction of the skeletal system.The mother’s body draws minerals from her bones during the nine months when she is pregnant and later to produce mineral-rich milk. This process is called bone demineralization. That’s why the reconstruction of the skeletal system is very important. Breastfeeding is more effective than any supplementation in reconstruction and mineralization of bones.
- It is cheap, natural, and healthy. The cost of breast milk is zero and brings the best benefits for the child.
Unfortunately, some mothers stop feeding if faced with a feeding crisis after returning from the hospital. That is why sound knowledge, belief in the breastfeeding practice and the support of the family are so important.