My Mummy's Milk

BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING

The Baby Show

The Baby Show

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Breastfeeding benefits - for baby


breastfeeding babyYour breastmilk is the only food designed specifically for your baby, can not be replicated, and changes as he grows, to suit his needs.  What is more, the nutrients in breastmilk are more easily absorbed than formula milk, so you can be certain that he is getting maximum benefit, as well as being protected by the antibodies produced just for him and passed on through your milk.  There are both short and long term benefits of breastfeeding for baby for the recommended time of six months exclusively, and thereafter together with solid foods for as long as you and your baby wish.   

Immediate benefits for your baby

Your baby will immediately feel a sense of comfort and security while breastfeeding, so it is important to put your baby to your breast as soon as you are able.  Your first milk (colostrum) helps him to produce his first stool to excrete meconium (the substances ingested while in the womb) and lines his stomach and intestines to better defend against bacteria and viruses. 

If you have a family history of diabetes or allergies, your baby is less likely to develop these if he is breastfed.  In addition, further benefits of breastfeeding baby are that they are less likely to:

  • be constipated, as their stools are softer, or to suffer with diarrhoea
  • have gas problems or vomit after feeding
  • suffer urinary tract infections
  • suffer ear infections
  • be admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis and respiratory infections

Breastmilk contains vital substances to help the development of your baby’s brain, retina and central nervous system, as well as growth factors and hormones.

Longer term benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

Studies have indicated that breastfeeding benefits for baby may include:

  • less likelihood of chest infections until the age of 7
  • be less likely to develop eczema and asthma
  • a lower risk of becoming obese and suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and tooth decay in later life
  • be more likely to achieve higher scores in intelligence tests

Breastfeeding and premature babies

Premature babies benefit from breastmilk particularly, as this will build up their strength and protect them from infection.  If your baby is unable to feed at the breast, you can express your breastmilk (and colostrum) to be given to your baby via other means.  If your baby is too small or poorly to be able to take it immediately, you can freeze your expressed breastmilk it for later use.

don't forget

Don't forget to have a look at our guide to the health benefits of breastfeeding for mother too.