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Benefits of Breastfeeding and Breast Milk

Experts agree breast milk is best for babies. It is the most nutritionally complete food your newborn will ever have. The benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby can last a lifetime.

3 mins to read Sep 10, 2018

our first milk is colostrum, a yellowish translucent fluid, rich in proteins (including antibodies), vitamins, and minerals to help nourish and protect your baby from infections. Babies often take only small amounts of colostrum at a time, so expect frequent feedings at first. This early breast milk also acts as a natural laxative to help the baby pass the meconium stool in the first few days after birth.

Between the third and the tenth day
Your milk changes to transition milk and now contains more water. It may look thinner and watery, but it's perfect food for your new baby. And now your breasts will feel fuller too, as the volume of milk increases.

By about the tenth day
Your milk changes again and now develops into mature milk which is full of easy-to-digest proteins for a growing baby. This amazing baby food will continue to change over the course of a feeding to meet your baby's evolving needs. As your baby begins feeding, he gets more water, to quench his thirst. After a couple of minutes, the milk that follows has more of the protein and fat he needs for energy and weight gain, as well as satisfying his hunger.

1. Breast milk may reduce the risk of allergy
Research shows that in babies with a family history of allergy, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months reduces the risk of allergy1. For overall health, growth and development infant feeding guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby’s life, with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age and beyond or for as long as you can.

2. Breastfeeding aids in development
The suckling motion that baby makes while breastfeeding aids in baby’s jaw and oral motor development.

3. Breastfeeding helps you get into shape and stay healthy.
Your baby's sucking stimulates hormones that make your uterus contract. Also, studies suggest breastfeeding burns extra calories, which may help you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight more quickly. Experts also believe breastfeeding decreases the occurrence of breast cancer.

4. Breastfeeding creates an intimate mother-child bond.
Snuggle in close. Breastfeeding your baby has both nutritional and nurturing benefits that you can continue to nurture as baby grows. Your baby gets skin-to-skin closeness and close eye contact while consuming nature's most perfect food.

5. Breastfeeding is convenient, portable and economical
Breastfeeding can be done anytime, anywhere. Plus it’s easy on the budget.

1Greer FR et al. Pediatrics 2008;121(1):183-191.

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