Is the Breast Best?

For many new mummies, the decision to breastfeed at first appears to be a difficult one. Many people struggle with the idea that they will breastfeed their newborn. The idea itself is foreign. For myself I certainly experienced this feeling. In day to day society breastfeeding in public is only recently becoming acceptable. There is a lot of contradictory information in the general media. They may worry about whether the infant will get enough food, if it will be difficult to feed, how they will manage feeding their child when they go back to work, there is the fear that perhaps they will not have enough milk. Let’s lay some of these fears to rest.

Breastfeeding is natural and empirically proven to be healthier for your infant. It’s infact shown to be the healthiest way to feed. It is a complete food and contains at least 400 nutrients, hormones and infection fighting compounds, antibodies and white blood cells most of which sadly aren’t found in formula based products. These nutrients are easily digested by your baby. The protective qualities of breast milk, results in a vast reduction of infections which occur frequently for bottle-fed babies. Breastfed babies are less likely to be sick in their first year of life and are shown to have higher resistance to illnesses such as gastroenteritis, pneumonia and ear infections. Breast milk additionally initiates positive changes the pH of stools and intestinal flora, protecting your infant against things like bacterial diarrhea. Breastfeeding also is shown to protect against the development of certain chronic problems later in life, such as allergies, celiac sprue, and Crohn’s disease.

The nutritional composition of breastmilk changes to your child’s needs as they grow. The content improves cognitive development and could therefore could impact on intelligence later in life. The special bonding process that takes place during the breastfeeding process also positively impacts on neural network development which improves later social interactions due to the increased likeliness of the development of an ‘approach motivational schema’.

In the long term, children who were breastfed are also shown to have lower cholesterol levels, were less likely to become obese or develop type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure. Breastfeeding is also good for mom’s health. You will lose weight faster after the birth. Mom’s that breast feed also apparently are at lower risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis, appear to have increased protection against the development of ovarian cancer, and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They recover faster after delivery. With all these benefits it’s an obvious choice.

If you are thinking of breastfeeding your infant stay tuned via our Facebook page or subscribe to our blog roll as we explore this topic over the next few weeks.

Written by: Bianca Steyn

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