Exclusive breastfeeding is prescribed for babies, and it is the exclusive breastfeeding of the baby for the first six months of life. This is a WHO recommendation and mothers are advised to continue to breastfeed the child until he or she is at least two years old.
It is, however, surprising that despite the WHO’s clamor for exclusive breastfeeding, many mothers across the globe fail to breastfeed their babies exclusively even for the first two months.
Benefits of Breastfeeding to the Baby
The benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continuously for another two years at least are briefly highlighted below, even as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum of one year of breast milk, with no maximum duration.
- It contains the right nutrients needed in for human development in the perfect proportion.
- The mother’s antibodies being passed to the child through breast milk help to prevent several illnesses.
- Breast milk helps to reduce the risk of developing allergies and even obesity in the future.
- Breast milk helps the optimal development of the brain.
- It reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Breast milk straight from the source is sterile and contains many good bacteria.
- The suckling action exercises the baby’s jaw muscles encouraging the growth of straight, strong, and healthy teeth.
- It contains hundreds of nutrients that cannot be found in baby formula and no baby is allergic to it.
- Premature babies also benefit from breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding helps to strengthen the bond that exists between the mother and child, and it has been discovered that babies that are breastfed properly grow up to become more socially independent, compared to their formula-fed counterparts.
- The breastfed baby enjoys some protection and comfort that come from the skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding.
The Mother’s Benefits
For whatever reason you might want to decide not to breastfeed your baby exclusively at least for the first six months, the benefits that accrue to the mother should change your mind and make you have a rethink.
- Protection from post-partum bleeding due to the contraction of the uterus that results from the suckling action of the baby.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is an effective pregnancy control strategy.
- Breastfeeding helps to reduce the risk of developing iron-deficient anemia.
- It helps to fasten and sustain weight loss.
- It decreases the risk of developing ovarian, uterine, and breast cancers.
- Recent studies have shown that breastfeeding can help prevent osteoporosis.
Women, do not be scared of your breast sagging; it will eventually sag whether you breastfeed or not, so why don’t you just let your baby enjoy it even as you benefit from feeding him or her?