Breastfeeding is a boon for the mother, baby, and the family as a whole because of the health benefits it offers. Once established it is the easiest and effortless way to feed the baby with the highest quality nutrition in the most hygienic manner. It is a beautiful means through which the mother and baby can create a lifelong bond. Various international health organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued feed for about two years with complimentary feed.
If you don’t breastfeed, the baby and mother may experience the following:
No bonding between mother and baby
Sterilization of equipment becomes a daily chore
Traveling is very difficult with baby
Stools are very bulky and foul smelling
Effects on the baby if breastfeeding is not done:
Low immune system – Infants on formula feed are at a lifelong risk of infections as they do not get the immune factors present in breast milk.
The risk of developing respiratory illness – Respiratory diseases top the list of infections. They have URI, pneumonia very frequently. As formula exposes the infant to lots of foreign proteins, hence increased the incidence of asthma, allergies and skin atopy is there.
Runny tummy & other health risks – Diarrhoea is very common as the gut is immature and sterilization is not proper. The otitis media( ear infection) risk is double in formula fed infants. Premature babies can develop necrotising enterocolitis.
Obesity – Increased risk of childhood obesity.
SIDS( sudden infant death syndrome) – Death without any clear cause in infancy is more in artificially fed babies.
Increased risk of NCD’s – Increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high BP, deranged lipid profile later in life.
Low brain development – Few studies have also shown an association between infant feeding patterns and cognitive development. Breastfed children score high on IQ tests than formula fed ones.
Cancer risk – They also have slightly higher risk of developing childhood cancers
Effects on the mother if she doesn’t breastfeed:
Mother is not able to lose weight easily and obesity develops
Risk of diabetes, lipid profile abnormality, high BP in mother
High risk of metabolic syndrome
High risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer later in life
Periods resume very quickly and pregnancy can occur
In short breast milk is the elixir of life for the baby at the right temperature which nature has offered to each and every baby and we don’t have any right to keep the baby away from it. So go ahead and actively feed your baby to avail the benefits this amazing phenomenon has to offer to you.