Ticking off the days until your due date is an exciting time. You’ll finally get to meet the tiny person who has been growing inside you all these months! As a new parent, you’ll instinctively do anything to safeguard your baby - and without doubt, breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your little one’s health.
You may have already heard about the immediate benefits of breastfeeding for your baby’s health. For example, your baby is less likely to suffer from diarrhea, ear infections, and some breathing problems when you breastfeed.
The health advantages you can give your little one don’t stop there. Breast milk is truly incredible. Here are some of the ways your breast milk will help defend your baby from illness:
- Antibodies in your breast milk will help your baby fight off various types of infection, from tummy bugs to wheezy chests.
- Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria naturally found in breast milk that can help your baby’s digestion by balancing bacteria in her gut. Probiotics can also support your baby’s growing immune system.
- Bioactive proteins (some of which are called immunoglobulins) enhance your baby’s immune function and help her developing gut work properly.
Scientists have also discovered that the health benefits of breastfeeding don’t stop in childhood. Adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to develop health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
It’s amazing to think that as a mom you will have the power to influence your baby’s health, not only today but for years to come. Breastfeeding your baby will set her up for a healthy future.
Newburg DS. Innate immunity and human milk. J Nutr 2005; 135:1308-12.
Newburg DS, Walker WA. Protection f the neonate by the innate immune system of developing gut and of human milk. Pediatr Res 2007; 61(1):2-8.
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