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There is no question that — whenever possible — breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby.

Late in pregnancy, your body produces a substance called colostrum, which is a very concentrated form of breast milk that is high in protein. Colostrum helps your newborn develop a healthy immune system by providing antibodies and immunoglobulins to give your newborn everything needed in those first few days of life.

Within a few days, your body will stop producing colostrum and switch to normal breast milk. Breast milk has been designed by nature as baby’s perfect food. It contains fats and proteins that are easy on the developing digestive system, and its nutritional content even changes to meet your growing baby’s needs. It serves as a natural laxative that helps prevent constipation and prevents babies from overfeeding, which reduces the risk that your baby will gain too much weight.

Finally, breast milk helps protect your baby from disease by supplying antibodies from your body that bolster your baby’s developing immune system. Allergies to breast milk are exceptionally rare, in contrast to allergies to the cow’s milk in formula.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for at least 12 months, and even longer if circumstances allow. The World Health Organization goes one step further and recommends that breastfeeding continue for two full years, which can benefit children in the developing world.

Breastfed infants make the most of their nutritional start in life. Many studies have shown strong evidence that breastfeeding improves a baby’s overall cognitive development. The benefits of breastfeeding have been shown to extend far into life, including reduced risk for:

  • Juvenile diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer before the age of 15

Many parents may consider switching their baby to formula sooner than the recommended 12 months, but keep in mind that your breast milk is your baby’s best nutrition.

Takeaways

  • In the first few days of life, your body produces colostrum—breast milk that is especially high in protein and antibodies. This helps build your baby’s immune system.
  • Breast milk contains everything your baby needs until the introduction of solid foods.
  • Breast milk supports your baby’s healthy immune system and cognitive development and reduces the risk of many diseases later in life.
  • Breastfeeding should continue through the first year of life, and even longer if both mother and baby are willing.

References

  1. World Health Organization. Planning guide for national implementation of the Global strategy for infant and young child feeding.

Comments

  1. I love everything about this article. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Bf is a great way to get that strong bond and keep baby healthy too the only “bad” part is how painful it feels when boobs get full. I’ve heard for the mothers that want to bf but have trouble producing enough milk or have none can take some pill that tricks your body to make some…I saw it on ” I’m having their baby” the adoptive mother was taking them so she could bf. So good luck enjoy the bond and overall healthy baby.

    Reply
    1. I wonder if it was fenugreek, Kayla. I took it and it worked wonders!

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    1. I agree it is free in which saves alot of money. Who doesn’t want to save money? The bonding time is priceless though!

      Reply
  3. I am currently pumping and feeding it in a bottle. I am pumping every 2-3 hours so I’m super busy. We bought a little freezer to storage it and it’s almost full! I’ve been lucky with all my pregnancies to produce a good amount of milk. I label it all . Yes, I get tired but I know it’s the best for him so I keep doing it. 🙂

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    1. I remember those days!

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    2. Keep it up mama, Remember it’s the best thing for him and you will thank yourself later for keeping with it! Be proud of what your doing not alot of mother’s would do that these days, unfortunately. It’s easier for most to just shove formula in a bottle rather than pump. Me myself can’t pump i try it takes an hour to get just 1 ounce out so it frustrating so i am trying to keep feeding my little one but she has 2 teeth and boy does she not let me for get that >.<!

      Reply

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