Breastfeeding Helps Protect Baby From Getting Sickby Alison Wood | June 3, 2013 12:00 AM
If you're still contemplating whether to breast-feed or bottle-feed we are happy to give you some direction. While some mothers have no choice in this decision, some moms contemplate the pros and cons of breastfeeding. One major decision maker should be the health of your little one.
If a healthy baby is your main concern, then breast-feeding is the best choice for your family. Breast-milk is nature's power food for your infant. It is packed full of germ-bashing and immunity building components. Babies can be protected against dangerous infections and viruses through this amazing substance called breast milk.
How well does breast milk fight against germs? Simply put, one drop of breast milk can contain approximately one million white blood cells. These white blood cells battle germs for the little ones during their most fragile year of life. Mommy's milk also contains immunoglobulin A which aids in coating the lining of intestines which prevents molecules of foreign foods from entering the bloodstream. These molecules have been proven to cause an allergic reaction in the body.
Breast milk still amazes scientists as each mother's milk is especially designed for her little bambino. For instance, when your baby is first born, your breasts produce a sticky, sweet substance called colostrum. It is amazingly packed full of immunoglobin A and contains more white blood cells than mature milk that will come in after several days of breast-feeding. Also, when your baby is exposed to a new germ, your body automatically begins to produce antibodies to fight against that germ. When you choose to breast-feed, you choose to give your baby the healthiest and most protected start a baby could have.
Many childhood illnesses are greatly reduced when an infant is breast-fed. The most prominent one to mention is ear infections. Ear infections can make a mommy and baby miserable for several days or weeks. Some babies experience recurrent ear infections that can lead to hearing loss, slower speed development and other difficulties.
Mommy's amazing breast milk helps prevent ear infections in several ways. One way is breast-fed infants are typical fed in a more upright position than bottle-fed infants. If a baby is lying down when breast-feeding or bottle-feeding there is a danger of the milk to back up through the Eustachian tube and into the ears causing possible ear infections. However, breast milk also offers a protection against this circumstance: breast milk is less irritating to the middle ear than infant formula. Breast-fed infants are less likely to develop colds, and many times a cold quickly turns into an unwanted ear infection.
Not only does breast milk protect your little one from germs and ear infections, it also protects their fragile digestive systems. Breast milk promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines. This healthy bacterium, bifidus bacteria, does amazing things for your baby's body. It creates vitamins and nutrients that prevent harmful bacteria from spreading. Breast-fed babies are also less likely to experience diarrhea and constipation. Gastro reflux, another common baby tummy disorder, is also less likely in breast-fed infants.
Every expectant mom has also heard and read about the horror stories related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).Breast-fed mothers can be assured that babies who only consume breast milk are at a much lower risk for SIDS. Some researchers link the lower risk to the fact that breast-fed infants do not sleep as deeply as bottle-fed infants. Whatever the reason may be, rest assured you are doing your part to prevent the risk of SIDS by choosing to breast-feed your little one.
Breast milk has also been known to protect babies from the following illnesses:
- Haemophilus influenzae type B
- Certain types of pneumonia
- Infant botulism
- Urinary tract infections
- E. coli infections
There are many infant formulas that have healthy probiotics and other vitamins and nutrients. However, pediatricians all agree that breast-milk is the best for your infant's growing nutritional needs. Make the choice that protects your baby and ensures that he or she has the best start possible -- the choice to breast-feed.Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.
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