Breastfeeding key for infant's physical, mental development

By | November 6, 2018

All physicians advise that babies should be breastfed for at least the first six months of their lives for better mental and physical development thanks to the vitamins and proteins that mother’s milk contains. Breastfeeding also creates an irreplacable connection between the baby and the mother

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies should be only breastfed in the first six months and after the sixth month, the breastfeeding should continue until the age of two with complementary foods. Well, what is that breast milk and what does it comprise of?

It will not be wrong if we say human comes into existence from molecules. Every moment of the preparation period to life which starts with a molecule and continues for nine months is a miracle. This miraculous adventure does not end with birth but continues with breast milk. This perfect liquid which changes shape according to the need of your baby is researched by scientists using various methods; admirable results were received every time. As babies are defenseless from the moment when they open their eyes to life, having breast milk in the first six months (at least) is the most important resource for survival. I compiled what the benefits of breast milk are for you.

Breast milk prevents most illnesses

Research shows that children who were breastfed are much healthier than other kids at the later ages. In the breast-fed babies, the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, otitis media, pneumonia and diarrhea is low. Besides, the risk of obesity and coronary artery disease is also low in these children. Their abilities of perception and recognition are better thanks to long chain fatty acids in breast milk. Furthermore, their mental age is more advanced than their peers and they are more developed in the necessary neurological aspects. Their mouth and chin posture is more proper; they have less tooth decay. The risk of lymph tumors is lesser in babies who are breastfed for more than six months. The diabetes risk decreases nearly half in babies who are breastfed for more than one year.

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Boosts brain and mental development

In some studies that examine the brain development of breast-fed babies, it is shown that there can a difference between the brain developments of them and others who were not breast-fed. Research reveals that breast-fed babies have higher intelligence quotient (IQ) points and the risk of learning problems which appear as one grows older is lower.

Breastfeeding mother less likely to depressed

Postpartum depression can develop shortly after the birth and generally affects 15 percent of mothers. Nursing women’s depression risk is low when compared to mothers who give a preterm birth or who do not breastfeed.

Beneficial materials in breast milk

Proteins: There are nine protein fractions in the breast milk; it is also high in proteins and amino acids.

Carbohydrates: The carbohydrate in breast milk is lactose, that is, milk sugar. Lactose plays a great role in the regulation of blood sugar for babies. Also, it has an effect of strengthening calcium absorption. The galactose part of lactose makes the brain tissue of babies develop with the composites that it creates combining with fats. Lactose causes an increase in harmless microorganisms in the intestine, as well – the probiotic effect. This also decreases intestinal infections to a certain extent.

Fats: Fats are the main energy sources for newborn babies. Babies who need fatty acids for the brain development get them from breast milk. Fat is really important for them. Unsaturated fat acids which are necessary for the functions of the retina in the eyes along with brain and neural system development are present in breast milk.

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Minerals: In breast milk, there are potassium, sodium, calcium and zinc. All these minerals are shaped in line with the developmental needs of babies and take their place in the development process.

Enzymes: There are more than 20 enzymes in breast milk. While some part of these substances makes digestion easier in babies, some other part contributes to the neutralization of microbes in the body at the cellular level.

Daily Sabah – Health