The World Health Organisation and UNICEF recommend that breastfeeding should begin within the first hour of a child being born and should ideally continue for at least 12 months to ensure healthy development and growth of the baby.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the baby:
- It contains all necessary nutrients in the correct amounts for the baby. Breast milk contains free water, protein (60% whey protein and 40% casein protein), carbohydrate (mainly in the form of lactose), essential and polyunsaturated fats and important vitamins and minerals
- Antibodies in breast milk help the baby fight infection
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) and other important antibodies delivered to the baby in breast milk allow for them to build up immunity to infection. IgA in particular builds up in the babys throat, nose and digestive system and provides protection from potential pathogens. This will allow for fewer visits to the doctor and less worry for mum and dad!
- Promotes a healthy weight for the baby
Research has shown that breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight or obese when they are older
- Consuming breast milk lowers the risk of a baby developing asthma, allergies and diabetes
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother:
- A bond is created between mother and their little bundle of joy when breastfeeding
- It causes the hormone oxytocin to be produced which can help the uterus return to the normal size following pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding for longer than 12 months has been linked with a reduced rate of ovarian and breast cancer in mothers.
- It’s a ready-to-go, nutritiously perfect food for your baby, saving you time and money on formula milk.
It may not suit some mums and that’s fine! Review all of the options available to you and your new baby so you can enjoy this precious and exciting time together.