Benefits for baby
Breast milk provides a perfect start for your baby, affecting health and development on many different levels. It is tailor made with your very own baby in mind – allowing for your baby’s individual growth and changing nutritional needs.
Research has found that breastfed babies suffer fewer infections in their first year. Their need for antibiotics is also reduced, which avoids any side effects to their immature immune system. It reduces the risk of constipation, colic and other infections including those to the eyes, ears, chest, urinary system, skin and gastrointestinal system [tummy bugs]. Breastmilk is also rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which are important for brain, visual and nervous system development.
Breastfeeding has been shown to delay the onset and reduce the severity of allergies in children from families with a history of asthma, hayfever, eczema and food allergy. If there is a history of food allergy in your family, you should breastfeed your baby for at least six months before you start introducing solids. There is also a reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Recent research suggests that breastfed babies are less likely to grow into fat children. Human milk is known to contain growth hormones that help to prevent fat cells from growing. It is also thought that mothers using formula milk can sometimes overestimate the amount their baby needs, laying down a pattern of over-eating later in life.
The emotional benefits of breastfeeding are well documented – breastfed babies enjoy a warm bonding and emotional relationship with their mother. Finally, breast milk is convenient - it provides exactly the correct nutrients in an easy to digest package at exactly the right temperature, whenever your baby wants it!