Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things on earth. After all, mothers from a long line of different species engage in the practice. Breast milk provides babies with all of the essential nutrients that they need to get a good head start in life. However, some people question the importance of breastfeeding and the impact it actually has on a child’s health and overall development. Fortunately, this topic has been widely researched. Therefore, it is easy to look at the data and determine that breastfeeding is the ideal solution for an infant’s nutritional needs.
Methods to Make Breastfeeding Easier
Some women are intimidated by the idea of breastfeeding. However, it is not hard to start and it is truly one of the best things that you can do for your baby. Therefore, it is always a good idea to utilize various techniques and products to make the process easier. For example, nursing pillows will provide the mother and the baby with a more comfortable experience. They also make it easier to keep an infant’s head properly supported. You should also consider using a baby wrap if you would like to be able to easily breastfeed your baby while you are on the go.
The Importance Of Breastfeeding
How Does Breast Milk Impact Health and Development?
According to a study that was published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, breastfed babies show a significant increase in cognitive function over infants who are given formula. Additionally, the study found that babies who are breastfed for more than six months will experience a higher boost in their cognitive function. As you can see, the importance of breastfeeding for a baby’s development should not be overlooked when it is possible to breastfeed. Because of studies such as this one, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be breastfed for at least 12 months. In fact, the World Health Organization suggests expanding this time frame to at least two years.
The importance of breastfeeding has also been proven in that breastfeeding provides several health benefits. For example, anyone who has been breastfed will have a lower risk of contracting type 2 diabetes and asthma. Additionally, babies who are fed formula are much more likely to deal with diarrhea, ear infections and even obesity.
The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact
Another benefit of breastfeeding is that it provides the baby with essential skin contact with their mother. Research has proven that this contact can make the child feel more secure. Breastfeeding will also help stabilize the breathing and heart rate of a newborn. Furthermore, studies indicate that skin to skin contact is especially crucial for premature babies. It is important to have as much physical contact as possible after the birth. Fortunately, breastfeeding can be used as a method for ensuring regular skin to skin contact until the child weans.
With all of the emotional, physical and developmental benefits that breastfeeding provides, it is no wonder that almost 74 percent of American women will at least attempt to utilize this completely free method of providing food for their child. Unfortunately, only 43 percent of babies will continue to receive breast milk for the first six months of their life. However, if you want your baby to receive the optimal results from breastfeeding, you should consider breastfeeding for a minimum of 12 months. The importance of breastfeeding, when it is possible to do so, is quite clear. It is also a special bonding experience between mother and child that should be cherished.
Did you breastfeed your children? Any thoughts on the importance of breastfeeding or breastfeeding tips you want to share?