When it comes to our babies, we only want to give them the very best. As a new mother, there are so many decisions you will have to make regarding your child’s health and well-being. One of the biggest decisions to make is whether or not to breastfeed. Many women hear that breastfeeding is the best option for providing the proper nutrients to their growing newborns, but why is that the case?
Breast milk is ideal for your little one because it contains all the proper nutrients and vitamins your baby needs during the beginning stages of their life. You may not realize this, but breast milk has the ability to provide your little one with immunoglobulin A (IgA), which they need to help fight against diseases and infections such as meningitis, ear infections, and respiratory diseases.
Breastfeeding your baby may also protect them against certain allergies. Some studies have found that babies who drink formula or cow’s milk were more likely to develop certain food allergies than babies who were breastfed. There have even been some studies that have found a link between cognitive development and whether your child drinks breast milk.
Breastfeeding may also reduce your child’s chances of becoming obese in later years. This may have to do with the fact that breast milk doesn’t have as much insulin as formula or that babies who are breastfed are better able to determine when they are full and should stop eating, which may create a healthy habit that they carry on throughout life.
Breastfeeding can also benefit the mother, too. When you nurse your baby it releases oxytocin, which helps mothers feel more relaxed. Since the first few months with your baby can be new and stressful, having these moments to reduce stress and lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression can make this transition into parenthood much easier.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least six months, even though they can continue to do so even after the first six months. If you have questions about breastfeeding or if you are having concerns or issues with breastfeeding, this is the perfect time to talk to your OBGYN, who will be able to address your concerns and make the breastfeeding process easier for you and your baby.