Why is breastfeeding important?
Breast milk is unique and contains some important components that are vital for a baby’s growth, development and health. These include essential enzymes, hormones and antibodies. Breast milk is also tailor made just for your baby. This means it changes as your baby grows to meet their needs, offering protection as they grow and develop. Your body is fine-tuned to protect you, your immune system is mature and can rapidly produce antibodies in response to viruses or bacteria you may come into contact with. These antibodies can also be quickly passed through your breast milk to also protect your baby whilst his/her own immune system is still developing and more vulnerable. Despite years of research, science still can’t replicate these unique properties found in breast milk.
- breast milk helps protect your baby from illness, for example chest, ear and tummy infections
- breast milk reduces the risk of constipation or tummy upsets
- breastfeeding helps your baby regulate their appetite, reducing the risk of obesity as they grow older
- Breast milk contains hormones that program your baby’s regulation of food intake
- Breastfed babies control the amount of milk they drink and stop drinking when they are satisfied.
- reduces your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes
- is protective to your bone health, helping to keep them stronger for longer
- is good for your mental helth. Breastfeeding hormones promote feelings of love and calmness
- helps stimulate responsive mothering behaviours towards your baby. This helps to create a strong bond with your baby and for baby, in turn, to feel safe and secure
- helps your postpartum recovery and burns calories, which may help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight