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The Benefits of breastfeeding

Eve Daures
May 17, 2020

First of all, I would start saying that breast-feeding is a personal choice. You need to make this choice by yourself and for that, you need to be convinced by its benefits, its meaning and to be prepared about what it is. Through my experience as a midwife, I can say that the keys of a successful breastfeeding are knowledge and confidence. Now, let’s see what are the benefits of breastfeeding.

Breast-feeding is a wonderful way to help your new born starting his life, protecting his health, feeding him with the best milk and promoting the mother-child link. It’s also beneficial for the mother’s health. Here are the benefits of breastfeeding:

For the baby:

  • Better cognitive development (higher IQ)
  • Better psycho motive development
  • Reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
  • Better jaw development (better latch): reduces the risk of dental malocclusion
  • Anti bacterial: avoid infections
  • Reduces the risk of obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, vascular diseases (high blood pressure, hypercholesterol), leukemia, cancers…
  • Reduces caw’s milk protein allergies
  • Benefits respiratory functions, reduces the risk of asthma…
  • Reduces the risk of dermatitis, eczema
  • Reduces digestive issues: diarrhea, IBS, Crohn disease
  • Premature newborn: reduces mortality, benefits growth ,supports cerebral development

For the mother:

  • Reduces post-partum bleeding, prevents hemorrhage
  • Fasters uterine involution
  • Helps getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight
  • Increases time in between 2 pregnancies
  • Reduces gynecological cancers such as breast and ovary cancers
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis after menopause

For the community:

  • Economical
  • Ecological

For the father:

Breast feeding requires calm, confidence and relaxation. As soon as the partner understands the benefits of breast feeding, it becomes a real challenge for him and a goal to get involved in the triade. The father can take care of the environment that requires breastfeeding, encouraging the mom and helping her to adopt the good positions. He can also check if the mother is comfortable and lie down with her during the feed to help oxytocin secretion (hormone of love and milk ejection).

Practical advantages:

  • Free
  • Good temperature
  • Quantity is adapting according to the baby’s needs
  • Taste changes according to mother’s nutrition

What is different with formulas?

Breast milk is alive: its composition changes according to the baby’s need. It’s changing according to the gestational age, baby’s weight, even within the same feed and from day to day. For exemple, colostrum of a premature new born’s mother is richer in protein and easier to digest lipids.

The colostrum is the milk of the first days: it’s easy to digest, avoid external pathogenic factors to invade intestinal mucosa, helps Bifidobacteria to grow in the digestive tract, helps elimination of meconium (laxative effect).

What is the mother’s milk composition ?

It’s the same as the amniotic water and has the same odor as the mother.

  • Water: major element. You don’t need to give water to your baby, even if it’s very hot. Your milk is already very hydrating!
  • Proteins: nutritional (growth factors)but also protector: anti inflammatory, anti infectious, antibodies…the digestive mucosa is immature, Immunoglobuline A, produced in the colostrum stops bacterias and virus to adhere and invade the mucosa.
  • Carbohydrates: glucose protecting the intestinal mucosa against bacterial invasion
  • Lipids: helps the fat intestinal absorption, protects against parasites, virus, helps develop brain, nerves, retina. Mother milk contains DHA, O mega 3 lipid, that is very important for brain development, and this is absent in caw’s milk.
  • Others: vitamins, minerals, hormones…

Now, are you convinced?

Eve Daures
Doula in San Francisco.

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