In my previous post, I wrote about human milk facts and phases of milk production which is important in order to appreciate the usefulness of exclusive-breast-feeding to our born/ unborn child (see link https://www.nutrientdoctor.com/2018/08/facts-about-human-breast-milk.html). In this post we get to look at the benefits of exclusive/ longer breast feeding to a child and the mother.
Benefits to child (Short-term Benefits)
1. In 2016, a systematic review indicate that exclusive breast-feeding can protect against infectious disease during the first 6-months of baby's life due to a strong immune system. This could result to 88% reduction in mortality among children.
2. Breastfeeding reduces risk of diarrhea, respiratory infections, including hospitalization due to these diseases within the first five years of age.
3. Reduces the incidence of otitis media.
Long-term benefits to child
1. -It leads to 35% reduction of risk of developing type 2 diabetics (T2DM) later on in life.
2. - It reduces the risk of overweight and obesity onset in adult life of the child.
3. -There is a direct relationship between breastfeeding and positive cognitive outcome/ brain development. Horta et al., 2015 reported that Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in exclusive/ longer breastfed infants has been 3.4 points higher than that of never breastfed/ shorter breastfed infants.
Benefits to mother
1. Breastfeeding helps in birth spacing: Longer breastfeeding especially exclusive breastfeeding are associated with longer periods of amenorrhea.
2. Decreased risk for breast cancer: An increase in 12-month duration in lifetime breastfeeding is associated with a reduction of 4.3% in incidence of breast cancer. Victora et al., 2016 confirms this with a result that even showed 7% reduction.
3. Decreased risk of ovarian cancer.
4. Protective effect on Type 2 diabetics.
5. Decreased prenatal body fat: As a baby is breast fed, the body makes use of fat stores in a woman body to make the human milk. This in turn helps in weight reduction for the mother if she is feeding well and on recommended energy intake per day.
6. Breastfeeding creates a unique inexplainable bonding between mother and child (men would be jealous if they knew this the secret to a child closeness to the mother 😊😊😊😊).
7. It is the cheapest source of food for a baby for the first 6-months of life. This is budget friendly both against frequent hospitalization from infection and child-feeding because infant formula is very very expensive.
Now we know better why we should breastfeed exclusively and advocate for it among upcoming mothers. Please share this with someone that needs to know. Create time for your baby and breastfeed them exclusively. a stitch in time saves nine.
· Victora CG, Bahl R, Barros AJ, et al. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms and lifelong effect. Lancet 2016; 387: 475-90.
· Sankar MJ, Sinha B, Chowdhury R, et al. Optimal breast-feeding practices and infant & child mortality. a systemic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatr 2015: 104:3-13.
· Horta BL, de Mola CL, Victora CG. Breastfeeding and intelligence: systemic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatr Suppl 2015; 104:14-9
· Fabio M, Maria LG. Human Milk: Composition and Health benefits. Medical and Surgical Pediatrics 2017; 39: 15