Time and time again, we are bombarded with the plea from the health department to breastfeed our babies. Most women find the exercise tedious, others find it time-consuming and for others, the experience is so painful that they opt not to. When a mother-to-be thinks of the physical exhaustion, the wet t-shirts, the cracked nipples and swollen breasts, she is most often tempted to say no.
Women who choose not to breastfeed site work schedules, lack of milk and in most cases, modern women choose not to breastfeed to keep their figure. As much as breastfeeding leads to saggy breasts if not done well and even when done well, for some women the breasts still sag, the benefits far outweigh the minor inconveniences. If a woman does not help a child to latch well, it leads to cracked nipples. With cracked nipples, women tend to shy away from breastfeeding, which may lead to breast engorgement and in extreme cases, mastitis.
As most women will attest, the most difficult thing after childbirth is trying to lose that baby weight. If one has packed on an extra pound or twenty, nothing incinerates fat faster than breastfeeding. When a woman breastfeeds, she burns over 500 calories per feed, no gym involved. That is not the only benefit when one is breastfeeding. They get a menstrual vacation and this is worth the nipple cracks hands down. Breast milk is free and with it comes some financial freedom, as let's face it, the formula is often too expensive for middle-income earners.
So in honor of your ‘fallen soldiers,' slap on that push-up bra, lift your head high, smile and enjoy these 15 things that breastfed babies are likely to have.
15 Higher IQ
Breastfeeding is not for the faint-hearted and even those who have made a decision to, do it give up along the way. This should motivate you enough during those midnight feeds or the particularly painful sessions of cracked nipples. The good news is that breast milk has cognitive benefits towards the infant as it helps in brain development.
According to momjunction.com, there is research that says babies who have been breastfed and not fed with formula, acquire higher (IQ) intelligence quotient. They also in later years go on to get better scores on IQ tests as they grow into school going age. Momjunction.com goes on to say that the longer you breastfeed your babies the higher their IQ. So get heart mom. The fatigue will end and you will be repaid with a smart baby with an impressive IQ.
14 More Rolls In The First Three Months
The only protection a baby has against opportunistic diseases is usually fat. A young baby requires a certain amount of fat to keep warm, as well as fight off diseases. When mothers give birth to babies prematurely, the task is usually to help the child gain some weight. The best way to do this is to breastfeed. According to momjunction.com, breastfed babies have more fat in the first three months of their lives than formula fed babies.
Even though this weight tends to drop in later months, babies who are zero to three months are the most vulnerable to infections. They are also highly susceptible to infections and cold weather. Breast milk is free and even for those who are having problems producing enough breast milk for the babies, there are a few tricks that one can use to increase breast milk production.
13 Less Cavities
A smile is said to be the most inexpensive, priceless form of makeup a person can wear. Nothing enhances your looks and increases your face value as much as a smile does. In this respect, the best gift a mother can bestow upon your bundle of joy is perfect teeth.
According to momjunction.com, breastfed babies have better developed primary teeth and they experience reduced incidences of dental problems. Direct breastfeeding is said to reduce tooth decay caused by the bottle. Formula milk comes with added sugars and additives that can harm the babies teeth, unlike breast milk which is sterile and healthy. With breastfeeding, the financial relief is unmatched. Not only do you save by having fewer visits to the dentist, you may wind up saving on potential braces. Research has found that direct breast milk also does not alter the shape of primary teeth, which the bottle does.
12 A Healthier Brain Size
Research shows that children with attention deficit disorders have smaller brain size than is normal. Children with Autism have also been said to have a smaller brain size area. It appears most of these childhood birth defects are linked to the size of the brain, which mothers can help increase just by breastfeeding.
According to momjuction.com, when the child is growing, so is the brain in relation to the size of the child's body. When a mother breastfeeds her child, it ensures that the size of the brain will develop to the right size, at the correct pace and in proportion to the age of the child. In so doing, some of this baby birth defects are avoided and in some instances, the severity is reduced as some of them are correct. This should be enough reason to breastfeed if one is capable of it.
11 Calmer Personalities
Newborns are not only delicate, they come with so many demands, and in some cases, they can drive you crazy, especially if they suffer from colic. According to en.wikipidea.org, colic is incessant crying by a newborn that lasts more than three hours for three consecutive days in a week, for a period of three weeks by a healthy child. While the causes of colic are largely unknown, experts believe that it could be caused by the fact that the babies digestive system is still underdeveloped, which may lead to some stomach upsets.
During those periods of tears, there is a buildup of gas in the stomach of the infant which makes the situation worse. There is a ray of sunlight though, it is believed that babies who are breastfed are generally calmer than those who are formula fed. This may be attributed to the hormones released when a woman is breastfeeding, which tend to make even the mother feel sleepy. Whatever the reason, anyone who has ever had a colicky baby is bound to love this simple solution.
10 Better Sleeping Habits
As any mother who has ever had a child, they will tell you that when people say ‘I slept like a baby,’ that adage is completely misplaced. When you are a new mother, the tricks you learn are so many but the most important is that you learn how to walk like a ninja out of a room. You tiptoe and whisper for the most part because infants hear even the slightest squeak. A new mother is sleep deprived and that is why they are advised to sleep when the baby sleeps.
It has emerged though, according to momjunction.com, that if a mother breastfeeds, the baby sleeps better than if she gives the baby formula milk. While the research on this is not quantified, the explanation could be that the bonding between the mother and the cuddle as she breastfeeds gives the baby warmth and comfort, making it calmer and gives it a sense of protection, which leads to better sleep.
9 Stronger Bones
You have heard this one before, every new mother complains of a backache and hip pain and all these aches. Most new mothers complain of tooth decay and cavities. All this is because of the calcium lost during pregnancy. Some months later through, the bones grow stronger than they were. I guess it’s God’s way of compensating for carrying a life. The good news for the baby, according to Fit Pregnancy, is that this calcium goes to him, not only when he is in the womb but also later via the breast milk.
Even though formula milk is fortified with calcium, nothing can replace what comes naturally and breast milk is richer in calcium than any formula out there. Babies come with such fragile bones that a little twist is enough to break their delicate bones. If a mother can boost the strength of the bones, then breastfeeding should be a small price to pay for a healthy and strong baby.
8 Reduces The Chance Of ADHD
In the past, seeing a person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was not that common. Today though, most children seem to have ADHD. Maybe it is our diet that causes the increase or the number of video games we shove at kids to keep them busy.
Whatever the cause, exclusively breastfed babies who are breastfed for the first six months of their lives have been shown to have a less probability of later developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. One may argue that this does not make sense, but according to momjunction.com, the reason for this could be attributed to breastmilk cognitive capabilities. Even if the link between the two has not been firmly established, we believe it would be safer to breastfeed the baby instead of exposing it to a potential life of medication to try and control ADHD, which does not have a cure.
7 Fewer Allergies And Greater Autoimmunity
The other devastating thing about infants is their susception to allergies. From eczema to asthma, most infants suffer from allergic reactions and the same can be devastating, both financially and emotionally. Breastfed babies though, have been found to have less autoimmune diseases and allergic reactions. It is believed that the immunoglobulins in breast milk help to train the infant's immune system to tell the difference between a pathogen and a normally harmless protein. This helps the infant by ensuring that he is less susceptible to allergic related problems like asthma and eczema, as well as Crohn's disease.
Those are not the only diseases this super commodity protects a baby from. Breast milk helps in protecting a child against diseases like leukemia and diabetes, and it has been linked to reduced cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome( SIDS), which claims a lot of infants.
6 Less Likely To Have Viral Diseases
When a baby is born, a new mother is given a program of the many vaccines that the child is required to get. While some people choose not to give these vaccines for political, moral or religious reasons, most mothers who undergo this regimen with their babies can attest to their benefits in the long run. That said, breastfed babies get protection against respiratory infections, especially those that are caused by rotavirus.
According to momjuction.com, any mother who has ever suffered from chicken pox will automatically pass the chicken pox passive viral immunity to her child. this may not be enough to protect the child from chickenpox, but it will act as a buffer and when the child is given the chickenpox vaccine, it becomes more effective. Breastfeeding, in this case, reduces the chances of the infant contracting chicken pox by a huge percentage. Breastmilk also protects against respiratory diseases such as RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
5 Speeds Up Brain Development In Preterm Babies
Every mother expects to carry their child for nine months or forty weeks as is normally the case. No mother ever thinks that they are going to be that small percentage whose babies decide to come early, either due to some infection or just nature. When that happens though, apart from kangaroo mothering, mothers are advised to exclusively breastfeed the preemies. According to momjunction.com, babies should attain some milestones so that we can say that they are growing normally. These milestones are physical as well as mental. Premature babies who are exclusively breastfed acquire these milestones faster than those who are formula fed. Since we have established that breastfeeding aids in brain development, premature babies benefit from faster brain development, which means that they do not have any delays in their cognitive milestones. Not only does that help the infant in childhood but it reduces the chance of them having any psychiatric disorders as they grow up.
4 Healthier Neurons
When what we feed an infant child determines what he becomes or his health, it is important that we re-evaluate our decision to breastfeed or not to breastfeed. That thirty to forty minutes spent breastfeeding seems to translate to amazing benefits that cannot be gotten elsewhere.
According to momsjunction.com, babies who are breastfed exclusively have displayed a brain with a high density of white matter. This tissue has longer neurons that help in the growth of the part that is involved with coordination. This is the part that separates the geniuses and the average as it determines the quality of cognitive functions and thought processes. A breastfed baby is smarter by far and they have been proven to have more than 30 percent white matter than the babies who are not breastfed exclusively and even those who are formula fed only.
3 Healthier Intestinal Bacteria
Babies are are born with little beneficial bacteria in their intestinal tract and it is the mother's duty to ensure that a newborn gets all he needs to grow into a strong adult. Probiotic bacteria are found in the small intestines and they are present in babies at birth. Their population is low though, but with continuous breastfeeding, the special fats and sugars present in breast milk encourage the multiplication of the bacteria.
The more the good bacteria grow, the more protection an infant has against the bad bacteria like E.coli. The most devastating infections for an infant are associated with stomach infections. E.coli can lead to diarrhea and dehydration, which is the leading cause of infant mortality in most countries. When an infant has diarrhea he gets dehydrated fast and the lack of electrolytes in the body lead to death.
2 Healthier Body Size
We are living in a society that is obsessed with their looks and it appears as we go ahead, the misconception that the thinner the better seems to have taken root. Body size and body shape are largely dependent on a person's genes. If there is a chance that a mother can help alleviate some of the anxiety brought about by body weight, then we would encourage them to do so.
According to momjunction.com, it would appear that babies who are exclusively breastfed have an advantage over this battle of looks. They have been noted to be less likely to suffer from obesity right from toddlerhood and the same goes on to adulthood. This small magical commodity helps the infant to be able to maintain a healthy weight throughout his life. It would appear that the benefits of breastfeeding are many and varied and it is now the responsibility of any mother to decide what is good for her child.
1 Fewer Incidences Of Illness
Breast milk is nutritious and healthy. Mothers who have formula fed and breastfed will attest that the infant who was breastfed had fewer visits to the ER. Breastfed babies rarely get sick and when they do the severity is not as pronounced. According to lansinoh.com, breast milk comes packed with nutrients that develop and strengthen babies immune systems faster and more wholesomely than any alternative out there.
This is because breast milk comes with antibodies for most diseases, notably the common cold. Any antibody the mother has is transferred to the baby through breastmilk. If she had a cold, then the antibodies are transferred to her child thus protecting him from colds, and not just colds. The greatest infant killer is pneumonia and bacterial meningitis. Breast milk has been known to protect infants from bacterial infections.