Do you ever wonder why breast is best? Dr Lynelle takes a deeper look into why it’s better for your baby and for you!
1. Nature’s best
Breast milk contains everything that your baby needs nutritionally in the first 6 months of life – it changes daily depending on what you eat and drink and also changes in composition as your baby gets older. The first milk, Colostrum, contains important immune-boosting properties which helps develop your baby’s immune system from birth! It’s also rich in protein and helps your baby’s digestive tract ease into the first few days of life.
Your mature milk starts to be produced around the second or third day and contains all the right proteins, sugars, minerals, fats and antibodies. This milk quenches your baby’s thirst, keeps her full and builds her immune system. Breast milk has so many benefits for baby, including a reduced risk of SIDS, a reduced risk of obesity later in life, protection against cold and flu, reduced risk of asthma and eczema and some studies even suggest breast-fed baby’s go on to have higher IQ’s!
2. Everything you eat & drink goes into your milk
If you’re breastfeeding, it’s very important to remember that alcohol, caffeine and medications all enter your breast milk in varying degrees meaning that your baby will be exposed to these. Let your doctor know which medications you are taking and never use anything new until you have spoken to your doc about it first – many medications are harmless to baby but some are potentially dangerous! Alcohol and caffeine can affect baby in a similar way that it affects you, so rather avoid these things while breast feeding.
On the positive side of this, it means that all the GOOD things you eat and drink will also affect your newborn, so be sure to eat those healthy foods! There are some foods to avoid if your baby has a sensitive tummy or colic: acidic foods (like citrus fruits, tomatoes), chilli, dark chocolate and gas forming foods (cabbage, beans, peas, brussel sprouts to name a few). Remember, if it gives you gas it’s going to give baby gas too!
3. Breastfeeding is good for YOU too
Breastfeeding not only benefits your baby, it can help you too! It takes a lot of energy to produce milk so it can help you lose that baby weight. The hormones stimulated while breastfeeding promote bonding and give you a sense of wellbeing, they also help your womb go back to its normal size quicker after birth. Extended breast feeding can be protective against some cancers including breast and ovarian.
Author: Dr Lynelle Hoeks