Breastfeeding Basics: 4 Important Things You Should Know

Mother Cuddling Her Baby

Breastfeeding Basics: 4 Important Things You Should Know

Breastfeeding has long been seen to be the gold standard in infant nutrition. Numerous studies have demonstrated its excellent and unmatchable benefits for both children and moms. The World Health Organization has put up a recommendation that mother should provide breastmilk for their infants for at least 6 months or up to 2 years and beyond if available, even until solid foods are introduced.

Recent research, however, indicates that the number of breastfeeding women is alarmingly falling. It is estimated that nearly two out of every three babies worldwide do not get exclusively breastfed for the appropriate amount of time. This issue is said to be one of the causes of malnutrition in the early age of children. Therefore, mothers need to learn the basics of breastfeeding and its importance.

What is Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Before anything, it is important for us to fully acknowledge the definition of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding or commonly known as nursing is the practice of providing a child human’s breast milk. It can be done by either directly from the breast or pumping the milk out from the breast and bottle-feeding it to the infants.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Happy Family

When it comes to why providing human breast milk for infants is important, the list goes quite long. Below are some of the many advantages that can be obtained if babies are breastfed accordingly:

1. Helps Build Immunity

There is a phrase stating that breast milk is the first vaccine. Multiple studies have indicated that milk produces significant amounts of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and other antibodies to protect the body and combat bacteria and viruses. In fact, it minimizes the incidence of infection and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

As newborns have an immature immune system and are vulnerable to being sick, breast milk consumption is a necessary for children’s general health.

2. Provides Ideal Nutrition

Aside from building immunity, breast milk contains the adequate energy and nutrients needed for the baby. Raging from the basics such as protein, sugar, and minerals, key bioactive components are also found in breastmilk. Miraculously its composition even adjusts to newborn needs and satisfies infant nourishment in the first month of life. All the facts above prove that breast milk has what it takes to provide infant nutrition, preventing infants away from malnutrition.

3. Tighten Parents-Children Bond

With the skin-to-skin contact done with nursing, more sensitive maternal reactivity and emotional safety are made. The reasoning lies in it promoting physical intimacy, touch, and eye contact during the breastfeeding process.

Risks of Not Breastfeeding

1. Children May Develop Allergies and Illnesses

As mentioned before, nursing provides infants with the ideal nutrition and immunity. When they are not provided with breast milks, they are prone to suffer from:

  • Asthma
  • Gut infections
  • Childhood Leukaemia
  • Bowel Diseases
  • and more

Feeding infants with breast milk will reduce the risk of suffering from these sickness.

2. Increase Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer

According to PAHO, women who do not breastfeed have a 27% higher risk of contracting ovarian cancer and those who decide to nurse have a 4% lower risk of having breast cancer.

Nutritional Requirements for Breastfeeding Mothers

For those who are breast feeding consume food that is high in:

  • Vitamin B12 (Milk, beef, eggs)
  • Vitamin D (Turkey, mushroom, oatmeal)
  • Vitamin K (Avocado, banana, cashews)
  • Iron (Spinach, beans, chicken)

Mothers must eat an addition of 450-500 kilocalories to fulfil the nutritional needs of the baby and the mother herself. Furthermore, take multivitamins if recommended and needed.

Source: Breastfeeding

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