“Breast milk is nature’s perfect baby food. It contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes that scientists have yet to replicate” (Parents.com)
When it comes to breastfeeding, there are multiple benefits for both mother and baby. Indeed, the list of benefits is incredibly long, as we’ll see below. For one reason or another, though, not every mother ends up breastfeeding and that’s absolutely fair enough. After all, we’re all different and it’s also a very personal issue in any case. Some mums have physiological problems with the whole thing, other mums simply don’t like the idea of it and there are many additional reasons why breastfeeding simply isn’t an option for many. That’s all a given, so this article is here as a guide just to help keep parents as informed as possible.
Breastfeeding has been shown to benefit both mother and baby, in an incredible variety of ways …
Breastfeeding benefits for babies
For babies that are breastfeed, there are many potential health benefits including a lower susceptibility to some diseases and to infections.
- Breastfeeding allows antibodies to be passed on to the infant. This is especially important as a way to counter the threat of viruses.
- Breast milk also contains proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats and hormones, all of which help with healthy development.
- The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids found in breast milk help young brains to develop.
- Some studies suggest that infants who have been breastfed for at least 6 months are statistically less likely to develop childhood leukaemia.
- When breastfed during the first 3 months, infants are also less likely to develop childhood asthma or allergic rhinitis.
- Indeed, continuing to breastfeed when infants start eating solids may even protect them from developing some food allergies.
- Infants who are breastfed are also less likely to develop wheezing and severe eczema.
- Breast milk reduces the risk of the child developing ear infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections and diarrhoea.
- It can also protect infants from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (‘SADS’).
- Breastfeeding also helps premature babies by reducing the risk of them developing Necrotising Enterocolitis or ‘NEC’, a potentially serious bowel disorder.
- Many of breast milk’s benefits last right into adulthood.
Breastfeeding benefits for mums
Mums also benefit hugely from breastfeeding:
- Breastfeeding helps to reduce the risk of obesity in mothers.
- It also lowers their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
- Mothers who breastfeed are also statistically less likely to develop ovarian cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
- Breastfeeding also helps the uterus to return to its normal size.
- The periods of mothers who breastfeed return later than those of mums who don’t. This difference can be useful for family planning purposes.
- Breastfeeding is a perfect way for new mums and babies to form a close bond, naturally.
Practical benefits of breastfeeding
- As the most natural food for newborns, babies tend to simply enjoy the taste of breast milk, almost without exception.
- Breastfeeding requires no preparation and so feeding can take place virtually anywhere, any time.
- Breast milk is free, so saves families money at what can be an expensive time.
- Unlike formula milk, the taste and make-up of breast milk naturally changes as time goes by. For this reason, breast milk naturally encourages babies to enjoy a variety of tastes, which in turn helps when it comes to weaning them onto solids.
- Breast milk is perfectly tailored to your baby and adapts to suit them as they grow. That’s incredible when you think about it.
- Breastfeeding is a natural way for your baby to feed no more and no less than he or she really needs to. That’s perhaps the most natural way to regulate food intake.
- As a totally natural and sustainable food source, breastfeeding is also incredibly ‘green’. Indeed, World Breastfeeding Week (‘WBW’) earlier this August saw that 2020’s theme was “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. WBW 2020 focussed on the impact of feeding on the environment and climate change, showing breastfeeding to be incredibly healthy for both people and planet.
More information about the benefits of, and myths around, breastfeeding is available at the NHS site.
Baby feeding at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery
At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, parents have the choice of supplying either formula milk or breast milk. If supplying breast milk, we suggest bottles should be supplied in a suitable cool bag with their child’s name clearly identified. If supplying formula milk, they need not make the milk up; supplying the formula powder is fine and nursery staff will then freshly make up bottles of milk at the appropriate feeding times. Leaps & Bounds is also a breastfeeding-friendly zone — we are always happy to accommodate nursing mums and can arrange a private space for them to breastfeed their child whenever needed.
Nursery places near Birmingham, Edgbaston, Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood & Smethwick
Are you looking for childcare for your baby or under-five child in and around Edgbaston, Birmingham, Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood or Smethwick? Leaps & Bounds is an outstanding nursery and pre-school offering high quality childcare in Edgbaston, Birmingham. At time of writing, we have places available, so do get in touch if you’d like to learn more about the nursery and its suitability for your child. Call 0121 246 4922 or contact us/arrange a visit here. We’ll be delighted to tell you more and to show you around very soon.