Breast milk is the most balanced food you can feed your baby. It passes on valuable anti bodies, it’s always the right temperature, it doesn’t require sterilization, and it’s free! These are just a few reasons why breast milk is called ‘the perfect food.’
Food Made Just For Your Baby
Breast milk is never too rich or too thin. It contains just the right amount of calories, fat, sugar, protein, vitamins and minerals your baby needs.
Breast milk is customized throughout each feeding; the foremilk(at the beginning of a feeding) is thinner and sweeter to quench baby’s thirst and keep the baby sucking, while the hind milk (at the end of a feeding) has more fat to help the baby feel full and satisfied. (This also helps with weight gain.)
Breast milk changes as the baby matures. Did you know that the breast milk of a mother with a premature baby is different than for a full-term baby? It has more protein, iron, calories and antibodies just what a premature baby needs.
Breast milk adapts to the climate: it’s more watery in hot weather and creamier in cold weather. It is also easier to digest than formula, so there is less chance of diarrhea, constipation or an upset stomach. But the greatest advantage of breast milk may be that it contains live cells that fight bacteria and viruses; formula can’t supply this benefit. These antibodies are present in breast milk for as long as you breastfeed.
- Antibodies pass on immunities (the ability to resist or fight infections) to your baby.
- Breastfed babies have less chance of respiratory, ear and gastrointestinal infections, Crohns disease, meningitis, SIDS, juvenile diabetes and some cancers.
- Breast milk contains less sodium and protein, which puts less stress on your baby’s kidneys and reduces the incidence of dehydration.
- Enzymes in breast milk help babies digest more easily by breaking down protein, fats and sugars efficiently. These enzymes aren’t present in formula.
- Later in life, breastfed babies have lower cholesterol,better mouth development, and fewer cavities and orthodontic problems.
- Babies absorb the iron from breast milk better than formula and, therefore, are rarely anemic.
Good For Mom, Too
- Helps uterus return to normal size.
- Less chance of ovarian and breast cancers.
- Helps pre-pregnancy body return faster.
- Unique bonding between mother and child.
Inexpensive, More Convenient
You don’t have the expense of bottles, liners, nipples, or the hassle of preparing formula or warming bottles (especially at night). It’s environmentally-friendly, too.
Published in March 2007