Breast is Best: The Importance of Breastfeeding

I never really understood the importance of breastfeeding until I became a mom. My mother did not breastfeed me and, modesty aside, I think I turned out well. But when it’s now my time to be a mother, I realize that I want to give the best to my kids.

The childbirth class I attended to advocate and encourage moms to breastfeed. My kids’ pediatrician also encourages me to breastfeed. So when I gave birth to my first child, I did my best just to give her the nutrition she needs. But immaturity and laziness ate me up that I ended up breastfeeding her for two months only. When I had my second child, I made a promise to breastfeed her as much as I can. And after almost five months, I am proud to say that I am still nursing her.

So why should moms breastfeed anyway? We hear about breastfeeding advocates tell us to nurse our kids, but what for?

Here are some of the reasons why mommies should breastfeed:

Photo from Life Mental Health, Flickr
Photo from Life Mental Health, Flickr

1) Ever heard of colostrum? Colostrum is the first breast milk you will produce during pregnancy and after you give birth. This is rich in nutrients and antibodies that will help protect your baby. So don’t be surprised when nurses and doctors in the hospital encourage (or even force) you to breastfeed.

2) It is easier to digest. Compared to milk formula that are made from cow’s milk, breast milk is easier to digest. Which makes sense because cow’s milk are intended for cows. Also, keep in mind that the baby’s stomach is still small, making it easier to adjust to digesting the milk.

3) It helps fight diseases. Breast milk is full of antibodies including a substance called secretory immunoglobin A, that can help protect the baby from illness and disease. This includes asthma, diabetes, obesity, ear infections and even allergies. It also helps lower the risk of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.

4) It boosts your child’s intelligence.  There are a lot of studies that link breastfeeding and a child’s cognitive development. Breastfeeding is also linked to higher IQ scores and better cognitive development.

Breastfeeding benefits us mommies too. It can act as a natural birth control method and help us shed off post-pregnancy fats. Breastfeeding releases a hormone called oxytocin which can help the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. It is also more economical since we don’t have to spend money buying formula milk- and we all know how much a formula milk can cost. More importantly, breastfeeding can make us feel great. For me, the closeness I share with my baby and the fact that I am able to provide her the nutrients she needs is beyond compare.

Breast milk is specifically tailored for humans, or babies in particular. So if we all can, let’s do our best to nurse our babies. After all, breast is best.

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