It is well known that breast milk is the best food for babies. Early artificial feeding is a risk factor of development in children of early age of nutrition-related states, such as rickets, iron deficiency anemia, hypovitaminosis, and later diseases, such as obesity, diabetes type 2 in adolescents, and atherosclerosis. Only female milk protects the baby from many diseases, and is a guarantee of formation of strong immunity in future. Thus, the role of breastfeeding in the formation of health of a mother and child can be estimated if all its advantages are studied in detail.
Breast milk is an ideal food for kids in their first year of life. It is optimal in its composition, and is more suitable for feeding babies than any other product on the basis of cow or goat milk. Proteins, fats, mineral substances and vitamins are absorbed best in breast milk. The basis of breast milk is made by special whey proteins. They are characterized by high biological value, easily digested and absorbed. They contain all irreplaceable amino acids, in particular, cysteine and taurine necessary for proper development of babies. The especially important fact is that proteins of breast milk do not cause allergic reactions and manifestations in the child that quite often occur when using artificial mixes on the basis of cow milk.
Fats of breast milk contain a large amount of special useful fatty acids, which are easily split and absorbed by immature intestinal enzymes. Breast milk contains lipase enzyme, which provides digestion of fats. The lipase provides a soft defecation, protection against costiveness and gripes. Carbohydrates in breast milk are presented mainly by lactose (milk sugar). It provides optimum for babies’ acid environment in intestines and interferes with growth of pathogenic microorganisms in it.
The energy value (caloric value) of breast milk completely meets an infant’s need for energy. Breastfeeding gives a baby the opportunity to eat according to its appetite and allows to adjust to its needs flexibly, which is impossible while bottle feeding. Breast milk contains enzymes, hormones and other biologically active agents, which are extremely important for growth and development of an infant. The uniqueness of breast milk consists in its ability to adapt to the intestine of a baby, facilitating adaptation of the whole gastrointestinal tract, providing the correct settlement with beneficial microorganisms. Due to this, the flora of intestines can be restored without the use of medicines.
Breast milk contains a unique composition of immune factors (secretory IgA immunoglobulin A, red protein, and lisozyme). Due to these factors, female milk has powerful anti-infectious properties. Besides, immune protection of milk is individual for each kid. Protective antibodies from many pathogenic bacteria and viruses are transferred to the child with the mother’s milk. These substances are absent in mixes and the milk of animals. For this reason, breastfeeding is extremely important for a child on the first year of life. Indeed, during this period, a child’s immune system is still insufficiently developed, does not function at full capacity, and kids are subjected to infection. Breast milk protects a child in summer time at the increased danger of intestinal infections, and in winter — at a high threat of viral diseases. Correct physiological intestinal colonization by beneficial bacteria also plays a large role in protective power of a child’s organism.
Breastfeeding creates the correct occlusion at nipple taking, reduces the frequency of dental problems in early childhood, and reduces caries frequency. Moreover, feeding by breast milk provides close emotional and psychological contact of a kid with a mother. When feeding by a breast, feeling of safety, proximity and trust are born, remaining for many years. Finally, breast milk is not necessary to cook; it is sterile and possesses the necessary temperature.
In addition, mothers practicing breastfeeding from the beginning also obtain a wide range of benefits. Breastfeeding provides successful recovery of a mother’s organism after childbirth. The hormone oxytocin, which is produced during breast suckling by a child, promotes uterus reduction. This phenomenon is especially actual in the first half an hour after the birth of the kid for safe placental separation and prevention of postnatal bleeding. The first apposition of breast and the first long feeding should be carried out right after childbirth. Feeding of a child in the first two months helps the uterus to restore its before-pregnancy form, and adjacent abdominal organs safely take their usual places.
In the mother’s organism, there is the mammotropic hormone, which is responsible for the amount of milk developed. This hormone suppresses estrogen and progesterone development, i.e. the hormones necessary for an ovulation and changes in walls of the uterus for the emergence of a new pregnancy. Thus, breastfeeding reliably protects the mother from new impregnation. However, it should be noted that necessary protective level of mammotropic hormone is supported only at the organization of feeding a child in a natural way: mother does not offer a child foreign oral objects (pacifiers, bottles) for sucking; the breast is given to a child as often and for a long time as it wants; the feeding up is introduced to the kid after six months, the amount of adult food should be increased gradually.
The hormones estrogen can stimulate the growth of cancer cells in the reproductive system, and are closely associated with cancer formation. As it was mentioned above, mammotropic hormone, i.e. the main milk hormone, suppresses the development of estrogen and slows down the growth of cancer cells in general. Breastfeeding of a child, at least for three months, reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian epithelium cancer by 50 and 25% respectively. Besides, during breastfeeding, the mastopathy improves.
Calcium is better absorbed during pregnancy, breastfeeding and six months after the lactation termination. However, some women during these periods of life suffer from a shortage of calcium in their organisms. Most likely, it can be caused by incorrectly organized diet of the feeding mother. Therefore, it is important not only to eat enough products containing this element, but also promote calcium to be fully absorbed from food.
In the absence of breastfeeding after the birth, when there are problems with feeding, and also at the sudden breastfeeding interruption, the mother experiences a sharp decline in female sex hormones. So-called endogenous depressions for the overcoming of which the professional help of the psychotherapist is often necessary begins. In turn, if breastfeeding is successful, the feeding woman has a large amount of hormones neuropeptides, the most known hormone of which is endorphin. The action of endorphin causes the feeling of happiness and self-sufficiency.
In addition, breastfeeding makes the immune system stronger. This is caused by the increased metabolism in an organism of the feeding mother. Intensive metabolism processes accelerate the removal of toxins, increase rates of renovation of bones and tissues, and also make nasopharyngeal mucosa less susceptible to infectious agents.
Taking into account all abovementioned information, it should be noted that breastfeeding is an irreplaceable component of the proper harmonious development of a person and a basis of a good family. Nothing else influences the future health of a newborn as breastfeeding. Breast milk is the only good natural nutrition for babies. Besides, breastfeeding promotes emergence of exclusively close connection between a mother and a child, which can be created only by a mother. However, breastfeeding is a personal decision of each woman, and it has to be free and informed.
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