The Beauty and Benefits of Breastfeeding
In recent years, there has been a lot of debate surrounding the issue of breastfeeding. While the decision to breastfeed is a personal one, there are countless benefits for both mother and child that ought to be explored. One of the most significant reasons to breastfeed your child relates to the quality of food your child is ingesting. Although baby formula may meet the nutritional requirements of children, it is not the ideal food for babies.
According to the World Health Organization, Breastfeeding is the absolute best source of food for babies. Commercial baby formula is comprised of countless preservatives and by-products of other food production techniques that have no proven benefit for your child. Formula is also extremely high in fat content, and leads parent to believe that their child is thriving because he or she is gaining weight. This is not necessarily the case.
Breast milk, on the other hand, has undergone millions of years of development in the laboratory of Nature. Countless studies have proven that there is no reasonable substitute for Breast milk. Breast milk has the amazing ability to transform and adapt to the needs of your baby at various stages of development.
Colostrum is an amazing example of the way a woman's body produces the perfect food for baby. It is the first liquid produced by a mother, usually beginning a few months before delivery. It differs slightly in appearance than breast milk, in that it is thicker and has a yellowish tint. It has a high concentration of antibodies, which helps newborns fend off illness and disease and build strong, stable immune systems. It is extremely easy for babies to digest, and it also has a laxative effect to help ease digestion.
Studies have also shown that there is a direct relationship between breastfeeding and a child's cognitive ability and intelligence. Simply put, breastfed babies have higher IQ's than their bottle-fed peers. Some studies have concluded that the longer a child is breastfed, the higher IQ he/she will have. Other studies have shown that breastfed children have a lower incidence of ear infections. This is significant when one considers the overuse of antibiotics and antibiotic resistant disease.
Food allergies are another important consideration for new parents. Breastfed babies have a much lower chance of developing food life-threatening food allergies. As a consequence, the have an even lower chance of developing related illnesses such as gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea and vomiting. Breast milk protects babies from food allergies because it has a high concentration of the immunoglobulin IgA. IgA works by binding to foreign proteins and preventing them from entering the child's bloodstream. Children do not begin to produce IgA of their own until approximately 8 months of age.
Other studies have concluded that breastfeeding can also protect your child from diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Leukemia. New parents should explore their options carefully, and make educated decisions regarding their child's health and well being. Speak with your Pediatrician, or contact your local health unit, for more information. The choice you make will affect your child's health for the rest of his or her life.
About the Author: Rachel Thompson is the proud mother of two young children, and a regular contributing writer for thebabydepartment.com – a wonderfully informative online resource for parents, with information about breastfeeding, car seats, baby supplies and more.