Almost all medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, strongly approve breastmilk as the healthiest superfood for infants. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) also advocates breastmilk to be the most suitable baby food.
According to doctors, new moms should initiate breastfeeding their child within the first hour of birth. Thereafter, breastfeeding must be continued intensively for another 6 months. Subsequently, appropriate complementary foods can be incorporated along with regular breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond.
Does the body produce enough breastmilk?
Absolutely yes. In fact, within the first few days after birth, nursing mothers produce the ideal amount of “first milk”, called Colostrum. Thick, yellowish, but scanty, colostrum is plentily available to meet the baby’s nutritional needs.
The formation of colostrum is a natural process that takes place within the body of a new mom. However, due to hormonal changes or other medical factors, some moms can experience low production of colostrum. In such cases, it is recommended to seek doctor’s advice rather than trying out different ways to curb the problem. It is not advisable to supplement breastmilk with formula, as it may decrease colostrum production.
Breastfeeding nutritional facts
Due to its naturally rich properties, colostrum is the best and easiest way to provide newborns with much-needed essential nutrients for accelerated growth and development. Following are the basic nutritional components found in breastmilk
- Carbohydrates – Breastmilk is rich in carbohydrates, enabling rapid brain growth, normal nerve function, and preventing gastrointestinal distress in infants.
- Proteins – Breastmilk has 20% B casein and 80% whey protein, which eases digestion and promotes brain development.
- Lipids – Unsaturated fats, essential fatty acids, and steroids present in human milk are excellent for neural division and bone development.
- Vitamins – Rich in Vitamin A, C, and E, breastmilk prevents against xerophthalmia, keratomalacia, and rickets.
Are there any advantages of breastmilk?
Breastfeeding carries numerous advantages for both the mother and the child. Let’s have a look at the top benefits of breastfeeding.
Advantages to the mother
- Breastfeeding infants is the most cost-effective birth control method. It leads to the generation of Prolactin, which stimulates milk production, and decreases the synthesis of ovarian hormones.
- The uterus returns to its normal size and prevents bleeding due to the secretion of oxytocin.
- Breastfeeding promotes weight management and helps the mother shed extra pounds.
- The risks of breast cancer are prevented to a great extent.
- Diabetic mothers can experience reduced requirements of insulin.
Advantages to the infant
- Breastmilk promotes hormonal growth factors due to the presence of thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyroxine, parathyroid, insulin, prolactin, etc.
- Protects against the risk of viruses that cause infections of ears, inflammatory bowel, gastroenteritis, respiration, etc.
- It lessens the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as compared to infants who are formula-fed.
- Breastfed babies develop better antibody responses to all kinds of vaccinations.
- Brain development becomes more prominent due to the fatty acids and other essential nutrients present in mother’s milk.
Apart from everything else, breastfeeding is absolutely free, abundantly available, and requires very little effort. A perfect combination of a balanced diet and the right amount of physical exercises can enable new moms to keep up with the breastfeeding needs of their infants.