Researchers and doctors have been singing the praises of breastfeeding for decades, and there's a good reason for that: breastfeeding is simply the most convenient, natural and healthy way to give your baby a great head start in its new life. Unless you've got a good medical reason to opt for formula and bottle-feeding, you should probably try to breastfeed, and here is why:
1. Customized to Your Baby's Needs
Not only is breast milk custom-made for human consumption and hence has the nutritional elements that are vital for proper human development, breast milk also meets your baby's nutritional needs at different parts of the day and at different development stages. Moreover, breast milk contains over 100 ingredients that cannot be replicated in cow's milk or formula.
2. Easier to Digest
Since breast milk is designed for a human baby's consumption, it is easier to digest than cow's milk, which is meant to cater to the nutritional needs of young calves. For example, the protein and fat found in breast milk is easier to absorb than other types of milk, and hence breastfed infants are rarely constipated. Breast milk also reduces the risk of digestive upsets because it rids the baby's body of harmful microorganisms and encourages the growth of beneficial ones.
3. Causes Fewer Allergies and Less Risk of Asthma
While studies indicate that one out of every 10 newborn babies have allergic reactions to cow milk after initial exposure, breast milk was found to be very well tolerated and almost never triggers allergic reactions in infants. Furthermore, research indicates that breastfed babies tend to be less likely to suffer from childhood asthma and eczema than babies fed on formula.
4. Prevents Diaper Rash
Breastfed babies' bowl movements tend to be sweet-smelling and are less likely to cause diaper rash. However, this changes as soon as solid foods are introduced into the baby's diet.
5. Prevents Infections
As long as babies are drinking their mother's milk, they're getting a dose of antibodies that strengthen their immunity to various diseases, protecting them against colds, ear infections, respiratory tract infections, and other illnesses that bottle-fed babies are at great risk of. In addition, breastfed babies tend to recover faster, experience fewer health complications, and are less prone to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
6. Develops the Brain
Beast milk contains brain-building fatty acids (DHA) that are necessary for the development of the baby's brain, which usually results in an increased IQ during childhood and possibly into adulthood.This may be related not only to the DHA in breast milk, but also to the closeness and mother-baby interaction that is built into breastfeeding, which can potentially foster intellectual development.
7. Has a Soothing Effect
Suckling even after a feeding is over can help soothe the baby when it is distressed. This is possible in the case of breastfeeding but difficult to accomplish with an empty bottle.
8. Builds Stronger Mouths
Suckling at the mother's breast gives the baby's mouth a proper workout to ensure optimal oral development and helps grow stronger teeth later on that undergo fewer cavities during childhood.