Breast-milk contains all the vitamins and nutrients that a baby needs in the first six months of its life. The myth that it is deficient in vitamin D is just that – a myth. A baby may be deficient in vitamin D only if the mother is herself deficient or was so, at the time of pregnancy. The little amount of sunlight that babies are usually exposed to, combined with breast-milk is usually enough. Your breast-milk is tailored for your baby – your body adjusts to your lifestyle, kind of environment, the food you are exposed to and produces milk accordingly, such that the baby is protected and nourished.
Prevention against illnesses
It is beneficial for building the immune system of the baby and prevents a number of childhood infections and illnesses. It lowers the risk of diarrhea, Type 1 diabetes, respiratory illnesses such as asthma in babies. Breastfed babies also have improved vision and lower risk of ear infections. A recent study has shown that there are significantly lesser infant deaths (between the age of 28 days and a year) that occur with babies who are breastfed than those who aren’t. For the mom, breastfeeding lowers the risk of ovarian cancers, breast cancer and diseases of the heart. It helps in weight loss post-delivery. There is also less blood loss that occurs post-delivery thereby enabling faster and improved healing of the mom’s body post giving birth.
Studies have shown that the increased bonding between mother and child due to nursing makes for healthy children with increased cognition and development. It is still not certain whether it is the milk that causes this or the physical contact that occurs when nursing. It is advisable nonetheless to nurse the baby directly over pumping and bottling the milk.
There is no age limit as to when you should stop breastfeeding. It is recommended that babies be breastfed till at least one year of age. Post that, the mother and child may decide till when to continue doing so. Women are usually known to breast feed up to two years. There are lactation consultants that one may approach if there are problems experienced while breastfeeding or in lactation.
- You have infections such as HIV, tuberculosis etc. that may get passed on to the baby.
- You consume alcohol, illegal drugs or certain medicines that may get passed on through the milk, to your baby. It is advisable that you always seek consultation of your doctor before starting on any new medication and let him / her know that you are breastfeeding.
- One should also seek consultation if undergoing radiation therapies as some of them require temporary interruption in breastfeeding.
In these cases, infant formula / fortified milk is recommended. So be rest assured that your new born is in safe hands when it’s breastfed. There is no safer, healthier environment for your baby than your own body. It’s high time you busted those myths and rightfully used the gift nature has empowered you with.
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