Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest gifts you can give your baby. The benefits of breastfeeding for baby not only strengthen her body now, they also last for a lifetime. While her tiny body is adjusting to the world, you’re nourishing her every need – from head-to-toe, inside-and-out – through your nutritiously powerful breast milk.
Check out some of these amazing benefits of breastfeeding for baby:
Super Healthy Body: Your baby’s immune system is virtually non-existent at birth. Through your breast milk, she’s getting extraordinary antibodies that help prevent her from getting sick as an infant and a wealth of other nutrients that are helping her build up her immune system slowly but surely. Breast milk encourages good flora to populate in the gut, which is where immune defenses reside. Babies who are breastfed therefore grow up to be healthier children and adults and have lowered risk of illnesses like the flu, diseases including cancer, and chronic conditions like diabetes. Plus, breast milk supports the effectiveness of vaccines that further support an effective immune system.
Brain Boost: Many studies have shown the brain benefits of breastfeeding for baby. Fat in human milk helps make nerve tissues that create vital connections in the brain. Breastfed infants tend to have a higher IQ and perform better academically.
Belly Support: Breast milk is extremely easy to digest, which is one of the many reasons it is the ideal food for your baby. The hundreds of nutrients in breast milk support your baby’s gastrointestinal system and encourage normal and frequent waste elimination. (Yes, we mean lots of poppy diapers, but the good news is that breastfed baby poop doesn’t smell as bad.) Breastfed babies have less digestive issues and have less risk of developing food allergies, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Upper Body Strength: Breastfeeding supports your baby’s eyes, ears, throat, mouth and respiratory system. Breastfed infants have fewer upper respiratory infections and ear infections, lowered risk of developing asthma, and are less likely to have tonsillectomies. Plus their vision tends to bet better. Breastfed babies also require less orthodontia in their lives thanks to the great jaw and mouth workout they get from nursing.
Emotional Wellbeing: Breastfeeding creates a strong bond between mother and baby. This is one of the most treasured benefits of breastfeeding. When babies are held closely and lovingly in a skin-to-skin embrace and are comforted by their mother’s warmth, they feel safe and secure. Their heartbeats tend to lower and their temperatures regulate when being soothed next to mom. This connection continues as the baby grows and becomes more independent too.
Sleeps Like a Baby: Breastfeeding usually leads to more sleep for babies and mothers since transitioning from sleep, to breastfeeding, and back to sleep again is fairly simple. Plus the act of suckling from the breast and being close to mom helps lull babies to sleep. And breastfed babies have a lowered risk of SIDS too.
Weight Watching: Breastfed infants are more likely to maintain an ideal weight during childhood and adulthood and are less likely to be obese. This helps eliminate a variety of complicates that arise with obesity. Also, breastfed babies typically enjoy a more diverse diet of solid foods thanks to the variety of flavors they were exposed to through breast milk.
Sources: WebMD, Fit Pregnancy and Dr. Sears
Leading Lady’s All About Breastfeeding blog series serves to educate and inspire new moms with information on a range of breastfeeding topics during the month of August in honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month. This resource guide of helpful tips, breastfeeding advice, and research-based information supports our mission to raise awareness for breastfeeding and motivate moms on their breastfeeding journey.