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Benefits of Breastfeeding


Benefits of breastfeeding to the family

1. Money Saving. If you breastfeed, you may be able save about $200 a month. This saving is significant when you multiply it by 12. Furthermore, you can reduce the number of trips to the family doctor or pediatrician as a breastfed baby is generally healthier and has a stronger immune system.

2. Convenience. If you use formula milk to feed your child, you have to bring the formula milk, milk bottle, hot water and cold water along with you whenever you go out for a few hours or longer. If you are breastfeeding, you can save all these troubles. You can breastfeed your child at any time anywhere. Many shopping centers, government buildings, office buildings in Singapore also have nursing rooms for you to breastfeed. You can also save the trouble of washing the milk bottle, warming milk and many other chores.

3. If you are breastfeeding, you can also develop a more intimate relationship with your child. Skin to skin and eye to eye contact will deepen the attachment between the nursing mother and the breastfed baby.


Benefits of breastfeeding to the mother

1. Breastfeeding can help the mother to burn away excessive fat that was accumulated during pregnancy. It can prevent the nursing mother to from developing postpartum obesity. Statistics shows that breastfeeding can help the mother to burn 500 calories of energy daily.

2. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of diseases. Some studies show that breastfeeding mothers are less likely to suffer from ovarian cancer, breast cancer and uterine cancer. Breastfeeding can also lower the risk of diabetes for the nursing mother.

3. Breastfeeding can also promote uterine contraction which can help the uterus to return to its original size. It also helps to reduce vaginal bleeding and prevent anemia.

4. Stronger bone for mothers. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can help nursing mothers to absorb calcium more effectively, preventing osteoporosis.

5. Less time off work. A breastfed baby is healthier and has a stronger immune system. This means your baby will fall sick less often and is easier to be taken care of.

6. Better friendship. Breastfeeding helps mothers to share experience and cultivate relationships with other moms


Benefits of breastfeeding to the baby

1. Breast milk can boost the baby's immune system. Breast milk contains a variety of antibodies such as Immunoglobulin A (IgA). These antibodies are brought into the baby's body through breast milk and then distributed in the local mucosal surface of the baby's throat, nose, intestine and stomach. These antibodies can immobilize bacteria by agglutination of cells or block adherence of bacteria to tissue or cell surfaces.

The breast milk also contains lactoferrin which can impede the proliferation of bacteria and inhibit the effect of bacteria such as E. coli.

Furthermore, breast milk contains lysozyme, macrophages which can digest and kill over 100 bacteria.

Some studies also suggest that breastfeeding the baby can reduce childhood cancer and childhood diabetes.

2. Breast milk is nutritious. Breast milk is rich in proteins such as casein, lactalbumin, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and zinc. These nutrients are important to the growth of newborn and infant.

3. Breast milk is good for the intellectual development of the baby. Whey protein in breast milk can aid the development of nerve cells which are crucial for the intellectual development of the baby.

Breast milk is rich in unsaturated fatty acid, arachidonic acid and taurine. These are the essential component of the central nervous system which has an important role in the brain development of infants.

In addition, during breastfeeding, the mother can interact with her babies. This helps to promote the baby's intellectual development and language skill of the baby. Skin and eye contact and emotional exchanges between the baby and the mother during breastfeeding are beneficial to the infant's perceptual development.

4. Breastfeeding can protect the baby from developing allergies. Studies have shown that babies who are on formula milk tend to have more allergic reactions than breastfed babies.

Secretory IgA which is only available in breast milk can help protect a baby from allergic reaction by providing a layer of protection to the baby's intestinal tract. Without this protection, inflammation might develop and the wall of the intestine might allows undigested proteins to cross the gut, causing an allergic reaction and other health problems.

Because of so many benefits of breastfeeding, health authorities around the world like the World Health Organization has been trying to promote exclusive breastfeeding for infants in the first six months after birth. Authorities in Singapore have also banned any forms of promotion of stage 1 formula milk in order to encourage breastfeeding.

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