Babies thrive on the breast milk from their mothers. A mother's milk is rich in minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, and the fat that babies need.
How Does My Baby Benefit from Breastfeeding?
A mother’s milk contains two main proteins, whey (60-70%) and casein (30-40%). Breast feeding is especially important to an infant for the first 6 months of life. An infant, under the age of 1 year, should not be fed cow’s milk. The milk from a cow is rich in casein which is very difficult for a baby to digest and often a reason for stomachache and unrest in early childhood.
What Do Proteins Do for the Baby’s Wellbeing?
- Whey – 60-80% of all protein that is found in breast milk is whey protein. Whey protein possesses immune protective properties against infectious agents (bugs) because it carries a mother’s antibodies.
- Lactoferrin – is an iron-binding protein found in a human’s milk. It limits the availability of iron to bacteria in the intestines and alters which of the healthy bacteria will be able to thrive in the gut. It also protects the baby’s body from coliforms and yeast.
- Secretory IgA – is found in large amounts throughout the respiratory system and gut of adults. These antibodies consist of 2 joined IgA molecules and a so-called secretory component. This appears to shield antibody molecules from being degraded by digestive enzymes and gastric acids in the intestines and stomach. Bottle-fed infants have little means for combating ingested pathogens until they start making secretory IgA on their own, usually several weeks or months after being born.
- IgM and IgG – are responsible for fighting off viruses and bacteria as well. if you eat plenty of fish, you will make your breast milk rich in these elements.
- Lysozym – breast milk from a human contains lysozyme (a potent digestive ingredient) at levels 30 times higher than what is in any formula. Though other components of the breast milk vary widely between mothers who are well-nourished and those who are poorly nourished, the amount of lysozyme is conserved. This suggests that lysozyme is very important. This enzyme also protects your little one from salmonella and E coli.
- Bifidus – short for ‘bifidobacteria’ is a form of bacteria that inhabits the large intestine. This bacterium is good to have, as it assists in breaking down sugars and produces acids in the digestive system. These types of friendly microorganisms are most commonly known as ‘probiotics’. It has been found that babies who are breastfed possess higher levels of bifidus in their digestive tract. This naturally assists in safeguarding breastfed babies from illnesses. For infants who have less of the bacteria, such as those who are formula-fed, it is encouraged to incorporate bifidus into their diet to help the immune system and digestive tract stay in good shape.
Does the Baby Need Fats?
On average, a baby will triple their birth weight and grow an incredible ten inches in length by their first birthday. To facilitate this rate of growth, the baby requires a lot of calories. They will get these calories from fat.
Breast milk is a good source of long-chain fats, which are important for the retina, brain, and nerves. These fats are necessary for the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and they are the source of calories (energy).
How Does My Baby Get Vitamins While Breastfeeding?
Your baby eats what you consume daily. There are 2 types of vitamins; fat soluble and water soluble. These fats enter the baby’s body while you are breastfeeding them and the amount depends on your nutrition habits. If you're unsure about the type of foods that are rich in these substances, refer to your lactation specialist or doctor.
Carbohydrates lactose provides 40% of calories for the infant and helps benign bacteria grow in the guts. It also helps in the absorption of phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium in the gastrointestinal tract.
Breast milk contains mother’s leukocytes, which are the antibodies fighting off the bugs in our babies’ bodies.
How Do I Benefit from Breastfeeding?
- Breastfeeding is something which a bottle with adapted baby food cannot replace under any circumstances. Your baby is learning skills of communication while in close contact with your breast, hearing their mother’s soft tender voice as they feed off her milk. The emotional aspect of this process is also very important.
- While lactating, a mother’s body produces the hormone Oxytocin. Oxytocin helps the uterus to shrink and stop bleeding after the delivery much quicker than in those who preferred formula baby foods.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine, ovarian, and breast cancer. While lactating, the levels of estrogen in the mother’s body is much lower. Therefore, uterus lining and breast glands do not proliferate as much, lessening the potential for cancerous growth in these tissues. The longer a mother breastfeeds, the more they are protected.
- Prevents osteoporosis in those ones who decided to breastfeed. However, women who preferred formula foods for their babies have four times greater chance for the development of hip fractures and osteoporosis than the former group.
- Child spacing benefits. Lactation puts off ovulation (the time in which you might conceive), so can practice your child spacing longer if you wish while breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding is a very cost-effective activity and the only thing it requires is a proper breast hygiene and nourishment.
- Breastfeeding promotes a quick weight loss after the delivery in comparison to those who chose formula feeding.
What Is the Difference Between Formula-Fed and Breastfed Babies?
If for some reason you cannot or are not allowed to breastfeed your baby, you might have to switch over to formula food. Formula food contains daily required amounts of vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins for your baby in each dose. Nevertheless, adapted foods are usually sweeter than the breast milk; they might be a reason for different allergic reactions and diathesis, followed with itchiness and unrest. Artificial food also does not contain any immune globulins and does not carry any antibodies to your baby’s body. Cows and goats cannot protect your baby from bugs.