Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Breast Milk, God's Super Food for Human Babies

     
           I would like to say that I've always valued breastfeeding and planned to breastfeed my babies but that is just not the case.  When I thought of having a baby, I never envisioned breastfeeding. The women in my family and all around me used formula, my dolls came with bottles, and women on TV all bottle fed their babies so I took this to be the "normal" way to feed a baby. Little did I know that I was as far from the truth as I could be. It wasn't until I got pregnant that I gave the topic any serious thought. From the minute I read how good breastfeeding was for the baby, I decided I'd do it. Since then, breast milk hasn't ceased to amaze me. Let's take a look at the benefits of breast feeding to mom and baby as well as the many amazing yet little known qualities of breast milk, God's super food for human babies.


Benefits for Baby:

- Optimal nutrition. Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby and contains all the nutrients he or she needs for the first 6 months of life. No water, juice, formula, or solids are needed during this time. Breast milk has a unique composition and it's components are not all known so there is no way for formula manufacturers to duplicate it. No matter what you read on the labels, breast milk is superior.

- Higher IQ. Breastfed babies have an advantage of 10-12 IQ points over formula fed babies.

- Better dental alignment.

- Stronger immune system due to antibodies passed on through breast milk.

- Fewer speech problems.

- Better emotional development. Breastfed babies exhibit self-confidence and trust.

- Healthier skin.

-Decreased risk of infections such as: ear infections, repiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, haemophilus influenza(Hib), herpes simplex, respiratory synctial virus (RSV), necrotizing enteral colitis (NEC),  h. pylori, infectious diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and meningitis.

- Better response to vaccines.

- Better digestion and absorption due to enzymes found in breast milk. Breastfed infants also have less digestive discomfiorts such as gastroesophagal reflux, constipation, vomiting,  and diarrhea.

- Increased bonding and attachment to mother as well as increased skin to skin contact with mother.

- Baby can nurse for comfort when upset or hurt.

- Decreased risk of obesity later in life. Breast feeding teaches babies how to eat frequent small meals and to stop eating when full both of which are necessary tools for life long healthy eating.

- Healthier balance in gut flora. 

-Possible protection against AIDS.

- Fewer colds.

- Healthier hearts.

- Breastfed babies are hospitalized 10 times less than formula fed babies during their first year of life.

-Better social development.

-Better psychomotor development.

- Prevention of dental malocclusion.

- Protection against botulism.

- Better brain and nervous system development.

- Increased bone density.

- Less stress on baby's kidneys and liver.
 
- Decreased risk of:
  • pyloric stenosis
  • acute appendicitis
  • celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • diabetes mellitus
  • breast cancer later in life
  • childhood cancers
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • SIDS
  • multiple sclerosis
  • undescended testicles in boys
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • eczema
  • inguinal hernias
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vitamin E and Iron deficiency anemias
  • ulcerative colitis
  • leukemia


Benefits for Mom:

- Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, uterine, cervical, and endometrial cancers.

- Reduced postpartum bleeding.

- Better postpartum emotional health.

- Faster postpartum weight loss.

- Delay in fertility which aids in spacing of children. Breastfeeding is an effective method of birth control as long as baby is younger than 6 months old, mom has not started having periods again after the birth, and baby is being exclusively breastfed (no water, formula, juice, or solids).

- Decreased risk of osteoporosis later in life.

-Reduced need for insulin among diabetic women.

- Lower blood pressure.

- Less risk of metabolic syndrome. 

-Increased bonding with baby.

-Breastfeeding releases prolactin and oxytocin  which promote relaxation and warm, motherly feelings.

-No need to get up and prepare bottles in the middle of the night or pack bottles when going out.

-Saves money. It is estimated that the average family spends about $800-1,200 a year on formula.

- Breastfeeding mothers have more self-confidence and trust in their own intuition.

- Baby's diapers smell better. Exclusively breastfed babies' poop doesn't smell as offensive as formula fed babies'. 

-Baby will be easier to comfort.

-Saves money on health care costs for baby.

-The satisfaction of knowing you gave your baby the best possible start in life!


Other interesting facts about breast milk:

- Breast milk contains all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your baby needs for optimum growth and development during their first 6 months of life.

- Breast milk is made up of the perfect combination of sugars, fats, and proteins your baby needs at any point in his or her development.

- The content of your breast milk changes as your baby gets older to meet his or her needs at each particular stage. As baby grows into a toddler and drinks less milk, the nutrient content per ounce increases.

- Breast milk can be applied to the eye with a dropper to cure eye infections.

- Breast milk can be applied to baby's bottom to treat diaper rash.

- Adoptive mothers can take medication to induce lactation in order to breastfeed their babies.

- Breast milk can be used to heal sore or cracked nipples.

- Breast milk is made up of fore milk and hind milk. When baby first latches on, he or she drinks "skim" fore milk which is very low in fat. As baby continues to drink longer, the milk's fat content increases until it reaches a fatty cream like state which is the hind milk. Fore milk can satisfy a baby's thirst but it is the fatty hind milk that keeps baby full and satisfied. Hind milk is also the one responsible for babies growth, weight gain and optimum brain development.

- Researchers in Sweden recently discovered a substance in breast milk, known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells), which has the ability to kill 40 different types of cancer cells. Further research is being conducted with the hopes of possibly developing the substance into an anti-cancer medication in the future.

- The fat content and calories in your milk change throughout the day. Most women produce the most milk and milk has the highest fat and calorie content in the middle of the night, especially during the hours of 1-5 am. This milk is also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA which are necessary for baby's brain development. It is very important for moms to breastfeed their babies at least once during those hours in order to maintain proper milk supply and for baby to have optimal growth, weight gain and brain development.

          As you can see, breast milk is simply amazing! It was designed by God as the normal, natural, and healthiest way for babies to be fed and He thought of every single detail, even changing the content of the milk as babies get older! There are a wealth of important benefits of breast feeding to both moms and babies. For that reason, the American Academy of pediatrics now recommends exclusive breastfeeding (no water, formula, juice, or solids) for the first 6 months, followed by breastfeeding along with the gradual  introduction of age appropriate complementary solid foods for the second 6 months (until 1 year of age) and continued breastfeeding thereafter for as long as mom and baby feel comfortable. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, followed by breastfeeding complemented by solids until at least 2 years of age and continued breastfeeding thereafter for as long as mom and baby want.

2 comments:

  1. Amen mama! Great blog.

    Hugs & kisses,
    Miriam :-)

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  2. Thank you very much, Miriam. i hope you continue to enjoy my posts. I wish you the best during your pregnancy and with your new baby. I will email you regarding the must have baby essentials. :)

    ReplyDelete