As a new mother, there are many important decisions to make when raising a baby. One topic of interest in particular has been long debated: the preferred method of feeding infants. In the past, bottle feeding was the recommended method. Presently, however, breastfeeding is the preferred method of infant feeding. There are many short term and long term benefits for both mother and child that result from breastfeeding. It is important that you, as a new mother, consider your options based on these modern findings. Here are some important things to consider.
For starters, your child’s health is improved (in the present and in the future) with breastfeeding. Breast milk is packed with helpful nutrients that stimulate growth as well as helpful carbohydrates that are conducive to a healthy digestive system. Along with these complex carbohydrates, the milk contains helpful bacteria that are used to digest them. This digestive bacteria can protect your baby from other harmful bacterias and helps block pathogens, and by feeding the infant breast milk, it allows this helpful digestive bacteria to prosper above others. In addition, the milk includes only proteins digestible by infants, and therefore promotes a healthy gut.
Research has suggested that breastfed babies also have significantly lower mortality rates compared to bottle-fed infants. This is attributed to the boosted immune systems breastfed babies develop as a result of the baby’s contact with its mother. This immunity also protects the infant from several respiratory, aural, and allergy related illnesses. Another short term benefit is mother-baby relationship improvements as a result of physical contact, eye contact, and the skin to skin contact. This calms and soothes the baby, and creates trust between the mother and child. In addition to these benefits, breastfeeding has positive long term effects as well. For example, research shows that children who are breastfed have healthier social development.
Breastfeeding also benefits you, the mother. Mothers who breastfeed are more intimate with their child and also experience endorphin rushes as well as the same feelings of security as the child. In addition, postpartum health is improved through breastfeeding. The hormones resulting from breastfeeding encourage the post-pregnancy body to return to a pre-pregnancy state by reducing the size of the uterus. Not only will your body thank you, your wallet will. Breastfeeding is completely free and convenient.