Most mothers are aware of the importance of breastfeeding for child development. In fact, according to a National Health Survey, 46.2% of Spanish mothers opt to breastfeed their children for at least the first six months of life. And it is that breastfeeding is not only the most complete and ideal food to stimulate the healthy development of babies, but it also has positive repercussions for mothers, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
5 reasons why breastfeeding is positive for the baby
The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months of the baby’s life and, in a complementary way, until approximately two years of age. This is because in addition to being a great source of energy for the baby, it contributes to its healthy development.
1. Meets the nutritional needs of the baby
According to the WHO, breast milk provides all the nutrients and energy that a baby needs during its first months of life. It also satisfies half or more of the child’s nutritional needs during the second semester of life and up to a third during the second year. Breast milk is a great source of protein and essential fatty acids, as well as vitamins and minerals. Consumption will ban unhealthy food ads aimed at children. It also contains a lot of water that keeps the baby well hydrated and folic acid that contributes to the development of his nervous system.
2. Promotes cognitive development
Breastfeeding stimulates the cognitive development of children, as confirmed by a study carried out at Brown University in which brain growth was evaluated in children under 4 years of age. The results showed that at 2 years of age, babies who had been exclusively breastfed for at least three months had greater development in some key areas of the brain compared to children who had been fed formula or mixed feeding . That growth was most evident in areas of the brain related to language and cognition.
3. Prevents chronic diseases
The WHO recommends breastfeeding because, among other benefits, it reduces the risk of chronic diseases in children, from celiac disease, chronic inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes mellitus to obesity, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The 7 Best Manual Breast Pumps for Breastfeeding. What happens is that breast milk provides many immunoglobulins and antibodies that strengthen the baby’s immune system and protect him against infections and metabolic disorders that cause many of these diseases.
4. Reduces the risk of death in the infant
According to the WHO, breastfeeding a baby in the first hour of life reduces the risk of dying in the first month from frequent illnesses such as diarrhea or pneumonia by almost 20%. In fact, babies who are not breastfed for the first month of life are 6 times more likely to die than those who are breastfed. Likewise, breastfeeding accelerates recovery in many of the common childhood illnesses . Once again, this is due to the immunoglobulins and antibodies present in breast milk that strengthen the defenses of the little one.
5. Strengthens the mother-child bond
Breastfeeding is an excellent method to strengthen the bond between mother and child. In fact, according to the WHO, “a longer period of breastfeeding is associated with greater maternal responsiveness and emotional security in the baby” . This is explained due to the physical contact that promotes breastfeeding, which generates endorphins at the brain level, stimulating a sense of well-being, security and confidence in the baby. In this way, a very close emotional bond is created between the baby and its mother that will last throughout life.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother
Breastfeeding not only brings benefits to the baby, but also has many advantages for the mother. In fact, it has been found that mothers who breastfeed their babies tend to experience less stress, are happier and have a closer emotional bond with their children. However, these are not the only benefits of breastfeeding.
1. Contributes to spacing pregnancies
The WHO states that exclusive breastfeeding works as a natural method of birth control in women. It is worth clarifying that, although it is not completely safe, it offers 98% protection during the first six months of life, an efficacy similar to that of other contraceptive methods such as condoms. This is because when a woman breastfeeds, her body stops ovulating, which means that she does not have a menstrual period and, therefore, a pregnancy is not viable. However, it is worth noting that once her menstrual period returns, the chances of becoming pregnant increase, even though the mother continues to breastfeed.
2. Reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer
Did you know that mothers who do not breastfeed their babies have a 4% increased risk of breast cancer and a 27% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer? In contrast, women who breastfeed their babies are less likely to develop ovarian or breast cancer later in life. Basically, this is due to two factors: on the one hand, the delay in the restoration of ovarian function and, on the other, the decrease in serum estrogen levels, which helps prevent the formation and development of ovarian cells. carcinogenic.
3. Decreases the odds of developing type 2 diabetes
A study conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine in collaboration with other institutions found that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in the mother after childbirth. In the investigation, 174 postpartum women were analyzed, of which 85 were breastfeeding and 99 were not. The results revealed that mothers who breastfed their infants experienced improved pancreatic beta-cell function and lower glucose levels, which reduced the risk of postpartum diabetes. Interestingly, this beneficial effect was maintained for more than three years after delivery.