Breast milk is the best food for the baby. It has everything a baby needs to grow and develop. It is easy to digest. Breast milk changes to meet the needs of the baby and is perfect for healthy, premature or sick newborns.
So you can imagine my shock when I heard two young moms discussing about breastfeeding. These young ladies said they abhorred breastfeeding since it made their breasts sag!
This is preposterous to say the least! How can any woman in her normal mind say such a thing? What is in the name of breasts? Weren’t they given to us for the main purpose of breastfeeding?
Forget about the beauty part, that lies in the eyes of the beholder, and what is wrong if the beholder sees them sagging for the sake of his own children?
How then can a mother complain later in life that her children are not close to her, when she was the first person to abandon her responsibility of bonding with them through breastfeeding?
My friends laugh at me when I tell them that I weaned my eldest daughter at the age of three just a month before she started her pre-schooling, and the one who follows her is still breast feeding at the age of two and a half years!
I have seen the importance of breastfeeding and I need to share them with the young mothers who think that once they are through with breastfeeding their young husbands will look the other way.
For the child
Firstly, breastfeeding an infant fortifies his immune system, which is still largely undeveloped. According to scientists who study breast-feeding, babies who have been breast-fed have fewer cases of diarrhea, constipation, ear infections, and allergies.
Furthermore, the mysterious Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is less common among breast-fed babies.
Breastfeeding may also help stimulate brain development in babies.
It is estimated that children who have been breastfed have higher IQs of at least eight points than formula-fed children.
Breast milk also continually evolves as the infant matures, containing different amounts of different nutrients as the baby reaches newer developmental stages. Because breast milk is human milk, rather than artificial milk, it contains the exact amounts of amino acids, fats, water, and carbohydrates that best nurture a baby.
It is also at a warm temperature, which often promotes better sleep.
Breast milk does not contain toxins and other environmentally harmful substances because it comes directly from the breast, rather than a bottle. In fact, dirty formula bottles and contaminated water account for many cases of infant infection.
No baby is ever allergic to its mother’s milk. Conversely, so many babies are allergic to formulas that parents often purchase various formulas until they find the right one.
Even if a mother falls ill, her breast milk is unaffected—in fact, it contains antibodies for that same illness so the baby gains greater immunity.
Breastfeeding is also good for an infant’s oral development. The sucking motion required of breastfeeding promotes healthy dental and speech development.
A breast-feeding baby learns to control the flow of milk. On the other hand, a formula-feeding baby must constantly and passively suck, often drinking too much and upsetting its stomach.
Babies gain deep emotional satisfaction from breastfeeding because they enjoy the close bond with their mothers. They feel warm and secure, and often sleep more soundly as a result.
The cuddling during breast-feeding is also essential for their healthy emotional development, as babies suffer immensely if they do not physically touch other people.
For the mother & father
● Breast feeding helps the mother feel close and bonded with her baby. By spending time together, the mother learns about her baby’s likes and dislikes and gains confidence in meeting baby’s needs.
● Breastfeeding helps the mother feel more relaxed and peaceful knowing that the breast milk wont do her baby any harm.
● Breastfeeding burns calories. Weight loss after pregnancy may be easier for the mother.
● Breast feeding saves time and money, since there are no baby formulas bought- thereby saving the man of
the house a great deal of money during the first few months
Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of breast and uterine cancer.