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Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother and Child

Breastfeeding has always been believed to form the most important part of an infant’s diet. Besides, it also plays a significant role in promoting the mother’s health by waving off stress and promoting relaxation. Read here to know its importance.

Pregnancy By Vasudha Bhat / Dec 08, 2014

Benefits Beyond your Imagination

The importance of breastfeeding is way beyond only giving basic nutrition to your child. Besides, meeting all the vitamin and nutrient needs of your baby’s body for the first six months of their life, the breast milk carries disease-fighting substances that can protect your child from illness. It is because of these reasons that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding at least for the first six months of your child’s life. Besides, there have been studies that prove that breastfeeding can be healthy for the mother’s health too. Let’s have a look at some of the most important benefits for you and your child.

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Protects Child from Diseases

There have been many studies which show that diseases like stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections and meningitis occur less often in babies who have been breastfed and even if they occur the severity is way lesser. Breastfeeding when done exclusively for the first six month of the child’s life it offers a protection against diseases which can strike in later stage of life like, type 1 and 2 diabetes, high cholesterol level and bowel diseases.

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Protects Child from Developing Allergies

Children who are fed a formula based on cow’s milk or soy are more likely to have allergic reactions than babies who have been breastfed. It is believed by the scientists that immune factors like secretory IgA prevent allergic reactions to food by giving a layer of protection to the baby’s intestinal tract. When this protection is missing, inflammation can take place and the wall of intestine can get `leaky’.

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Boosts Child’s Intelligence

There have been many researches which show a link between breastfeeding and cognitive development. A study that was conducted on over 17,000 infants who were followed from birth to 6.5 years, concluded from the IQ scores and other intelligence tests that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding had a significant role to play in the cognitive development of the child. It is believed by the experts that emotional bonding that develops during breastfeeding contributes to some of the brainpower benefits but the fatty acids in the breast milk are what do the magic trick.

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Protects Child from Obesity

According to the Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding can reduce the risk of your child of becoming overweight or obese in later life. An analysis of 17 studies that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that breastfeeding can reduce a child’s risk of becoming overweight in their teen or adulthood. The most prominent effect was seen in children who were exclusively breastfed and the longer the baby was breastfed, the stronger the link. 

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Reduces Risk of SIDS

A German study that published in 2009, showed that breastfeeding, exclusively and partially, is linked with lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It was concluded by the researchers that exclusive breastfeeding at 1 month of age can cut the risk of SIDS by half.

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Reduces Mother’s Stress Level

Over 9,000 study abstracts were reviewed by the National Institutes of Health, after which it was concluded that who did not breastfeed or who had stopped breastfeeding early were at a higher risk of postpartum depression. Many women have felt relaxed during breastfeeding. This mainly happens because breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which is known for promoting relaxation and nurturing. In fact, even if you are undergoing a treatment for depression you can still breastfeed your baby.

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Reduces Risk of Some Types of Cancer

There have been studies which show that the longer the women breastfeed, the more they stay protected against breast and ovarian cancer. To prevent breast cancer, nursing for at least a year can show the most effective results. Although it is not clear that how breastfeeding helps but, it is believed to have been linked with structural changes in breast tissue caused by breastfeeding. Also, it can occur because lactation suppresses the amount of estrogen your body produces.

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