One of the most beneficial infant care steps that new moms can take for both herself and her newborn is to breastfeed. Doctors recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies for up to two years—with additional food—as the milk provides a host of nutrients. Not only is this an invaluable bonding experience, but it also provides numerous health benefits for both mother and child. Here is what all first-time parents should know.
Advantages of Breastfeeding Your Baby
Breast milk is packed with vital nutrients that babies need to grow. They contain whey and casein, which are proteins that are easy for little ones to digest. Another key element is lysozyme, an enzyme that can prevent gastrointestinal distress and inflammation. The mother’s milk is also rich in healthy fats that the baby needs to grow. Many doctors recommend that nursing mothers continue to take prenatal vitamins after giving birth so that they can pass along vitamins A, C, D, E, and K to their infants.
Breast milk also has antibodies that help babies combat viruses and infections. Consuming the mother’s milk exclusively for the first six months of life is essential to boosting immune health and minimizing the risk of allergies and asthma in childhood.
How Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers
Although the baby reaps the health rewards of breastfeeding, there are numerous advantages for the mom as well. Studies have found that breastfeeding exclusively for at least three months could have a positive effect on postpartum weight loss. The process also stimulates the body to release oxytocin, a potent, feel-good hormone that essentially carries milk to the breasts so that the baby can nurse. It also helps restore the uterus to its normal size quickly, and may even help reduce postpartum bleeding.
Breastfeeding exclusively also slows the body’s estrogen and progesterone production by stimulating prolactin, thereby delaying the return of menstruation. As soon as prolactin levels go back to normal, however, the hormones will resume normal activity, and menstruation begins again. Some nursing mothers may go a full year without a period. Perhaps the most rewarding benefit for many new moms, however, is the natural closeness that develops with their little one. It’s a unique type of infant care that baby won’t receive anywhere else.
The compassionate and experienced staff at Tiny World Child Care Inc. in Brookline, MA, aims to create a similarly nurturing, trusting, and safe environment for your little one to grow and learn during their formative years. They proudly offer a stimulating infant care curriculum, as well as outstanding toddler daycare and early childhood programs. Visit them online to learn more about enrolling your child or call (617) 232-0115 to discuss further infant care information.