Breast milk is full of the essential nutrients that your baby needs to grow and develop and will help to protect your baby from a range of illnesses. Infants who are breast fed for the first six months are generally healthier than those who are bottle fed. Not only does breastfeeding give your baby a good start in life, it has benefits that continue into childhood and adulthood.
Breast fed babies have fewer chest, ear, and gastrointestinal infections than bottle fed babies and those they do have are less severe. This is because breast milk, particularly colostrum (the first milk produced), contains immune factors that protect the baby’s mucous membranes from invading germs. Breast fed babies also suffer less from vomiting and diarrhea.
Breast milk helps protect babies from allergies. Studies have shown the breast fed babies are less likely to develop asthma, eczema and food allergies than bottle fed babies. Immunoglobulins found in breast milk can prevent foreign proteins from invading a baby’s bloodstream and causing an allergic reaction.
Breast fed babies gain weight more gradually and are less likely to become obese adults. Infants fed on breast milk produce less insulin, the hormone that causes us to store fat, and more leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, than those fed on formula. Bottle fed babies gain weight rapidly in the first few weeks and this tendency for rapid weight gain may continue throughout their lives.
Breast milk helps protect babies against developing childhood (type 1) diabetes and also reduces their risk of developing adult (type 2) diabetes in later life. Studies have shown that infants fed on cow’s milk are more likely to become diabetic. The immune agents in breast milk seem to offer some protection against the disease. Type 2 diabetes is caused by excess insulin. Research on adults has shown that those fed on formula as infants have higher insulin levels than those who were breast fed.
Babies who are breast fed have a lower risk of developing heart problems in middle age. Research presented at an American Heart Association conference found that adults breastfed as babies for a least one month tended to have a higher levels of the good cholesterol HDL and a lower body mass index than those who were bottle fed. Low HDL and high BMI are risk factors for heart disease.
Breastfeeding may increase your baby’s brainpower. Amino acids and fats contained in breast milk help the nervous system and brain to develop. A study which followed 1000 children from birth up to age 18 found that those who were breastfed the longest tended to perform the best on intelligence tests and have the most success at school.
Breastfeeding your baby is an important task as it gives your baby an advantage that will last for life. However, breastfeeding your baby in public is difficult. Find out how a Uk marriage visa nursing cover can give you privacy when doing breastfeeding in public. Visit the Uk marriage visa Nursing Covers website for Moms for details.