Nursing mothers always have an option to breastfeed their babies or switch to formula feed to provide nutrition to their baby. However, there is no doubt that the benefits associated with breastfeeding outweigh the ones associated with formula feeding.
Breast milk contains the right amount of nutrients that your baby needs during the initial few months for a variety of reasons. It is the perfect food for your baby as it is easy on the digestive system and the composition of the milk makes it easier for the baby to assimilate all the nutrients from it.
Making the decision to breastfeed is one of the best decisions that you can take in favor of your baby’s health. The following surprising breastfeeding benefits help your baby stay healthy both in the early and later life.
Benefit #1: Supplies vital antibodies
The antibodies and essential fatty acids contained in breast milk not only protects the baby from viral and bacterial diseases but also eliminates the risk of allergies, eczema, and asthma. The antibodies form a protective layer over the digestive system of the baby, thus preventing the growth of pathogens and or development of food allergies at the time of weaning.
Benefit #2: Reduces chances of ear infection
Ear infections are common in infants, babies, and children. Breast fed babies are least likely to develop an ear infection as compared to babies who are formula fed. This is because breast milk strengthens the immune system and keeps ear infections at bay.
Benefit #3: Reduces respiratory problems
Respiratory problems are less common in breast fed babies. Statistics show that babies who are fed infant formula are three times more likely to develop problems related to the respiratory system that babies who are breast fed.
Benefit #4: Protection against obesity
Babies are breast fed only when they demand to be fed. This regularizes their feeding pattern as they learn to identify their hunger and the feeling of fullness. Thus, breast fed babies are less likely to develop obesity later in life or during childhood because of this habit being developed during nursing. Formula fed babies, on the other hand, are 20 to 30 percent more likely to develop obesity later in life.
Benefit #5: Boosts IQ
Several studies conducted in the past have associated breastfeeding with higher IQs due to the presence of brain boosting Omega-3 fatty acids, namely, docasahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is believed that babies who are breast fed for six months or more have a definite edge over formula fed babies with respect to intelligence.
Benefit #6: Reduces risk of cancer
Even children less than 15 years of age may develop cancer. One of the easiest ways to protect your babies from developing cancer in childhood is to breast feed them. Bottle-fed babies and those who are given infant formula are eight times more likely to develop cancer during their childhood.
Benefit #7: Keeps diabetes at bay
Breast milk is known to contain certain unidentified nutrients that help cut the risk of childhood diabetes by as much as 35 percent.