What are the advantages of breastfeeding?
First of all, we all know the importance of breastfeeding, but if we want to go deeper into its benefits, we should talk about the advantages it offers to the baby.
On the one hand, and perhaps most importantly, we must highlight its high nutritional value that allows them to grow healthy and strong. The WHO itself comments that “breast milk has the right composition to cover all the nutritional needs of the child in the first months of life, due to its adequate proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as minerals, vitamins, etc.” Furthermore, with respect to iron, although it is not very important quantitatively, it is more easily absorbed through breastfeeding than exogenously.
On the other hand, as the baby grows, breast milk varies its composition, better adapting to the needs of each moment of development. In this sense, another very important component of breastfeeding is DHA, long-chain fatty acids, which strengthens neurons and retinal cells, thus helping brain development and eye development. In addition, it has a protective effect against opportunistic infections, since breastfeeding the baby consumes maternal immunoglobulins, or what is the same, antibodies that the mother has developed against these diseases, thus protecting the baby.
It also has a protective effect for some diseases that the child may suffer from as an adult, such as asthma, allergy, arteriosclerosis and even chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Cron’s or ulcerative colitis. Nor should we forget that it is attributed with a protective effect against the dreaded sudden infant death.
Secondly, we should not forget the beneficial effects for the mother. Breastfeeding allows the creation of a close emotional bond between mother and baby. In addition, it favors the mother’s physical recovery, thanks to a better retraction of the uterus and bleeding secondary to childbirth. It also helps to correct the weight gained during pregnancy.
At the health level, it has a protective effect on the mother, protecting her from diseases such as breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, osteoporosis and diabetes. In addition, it improves the psychological situation of the mother after childbirth, commonly known as postpartum depression, since the contact with the baby and the sucking of the nipple releases a hormone called oxytocin, which is considered the hormone of happiness.
Finally, we should not forget the convenience of breastfeeding our baby, as the food will always be ready in any place or situation. Unlike other foods, breast milk cannot be contaminated by handling, as is the case with bottles, and it is free of charge.