9 Proven Facts About Breastfeeding You Probably Didn’t Know

mother breastfeeding newborn baby

August Breastfeeding Month – Breastfeeding has been in the limelight in the past few years due to its many benefits. However, did you know that besides saving up on formula, there are more reasons why breastfeeding is good for you and your baby? 

For one, the emotional benefits of breastfeeding for mothers are evident in me. It has helped prevent me from getting depressed from being alone with my newborn and not being able to go out of the house due to the pandemic.

But while there may not have been a study about it, I can say it has been one of the psychological effects of breastfeeding that I can be happy with.

Since it’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I decided to write about the most recent studies about breast milk. After doing my homework, I’ve found the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby which you probably haven’t heard about. 

I don’t want to just keep these AHA moments to myself, so I’m sharing them with you!  

See also: Breastfeeding Diet for Mom: How to Lose Weight Postpartum

What are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?

Even before I gave birth, I’ve always wanted to breastfeed my child because I knew there are many advantages of breastfeeding your babies. And now that I’ve learned more scientific studies about breastfeeding benefits, I know I’d go back to doing it again if I had another baby. 

33% chance of baby’s survival

For how long should you breastfeed your baby?

The World Health Organization suggests that moms should breastfeed their babies from newborn until at least 2 years old. Many studies prove the physiological benefits of breastfeeding to babies, not only during infancy but even until they grow older. 

From a baby’s day 7 until 364, breastmilk has been shown to increase an infant’s survival by 33%. A study done a month ago proved that babies had higher chances of surviving during post perinatal period when breastfed. It shows how protective the mother’s milk is to her newborn. 

One of the benefits of breastmilk is improving baby’s health

A parent’s worst nightmare is his/her baby getting sick. There’s even a famous Filipino saying that sickness is not a cause of worry as long as it is “malayo sa bituka.” 

Translated in English as “very far from the gut,” the saying demonstrates how important it is to take care of one’s gut’s health. So, if you have just given birth or are planning to have a baby anytime soon, you might want to take advantage of the breast milk benefits. 

Based on research done this year, breastmilk has been found to help a child’s nutrition and development. Not only does breastmilk feed the baby, but also feeds the good bacteria found inside the baby’s stomach. 

Bifidobacterium infantis, the main good bacteria in a baby’s stomach, breaks the urea in breast milk down. As a result, nitrogen is produced and is used by the same bacteria to maintain a baby’s health and development. 

Protects babies from developing allergies

I’ve read before that a pregnant woman can help protect her baby from allergies by eating allergens (or food that causes allergies) during pregnancy. However, if you are unsure whether you’ve consumed all of them within the 9 months, you still have a chance to protect your newborn baby. 

A Penn State College of Medicine study has proven that breastfed babies tend to suffer allergies less than their formula-fed counterparts. About ⅓ of children suffer from asthma, food allergies, and atopic dermatitis. 

While the reason is still unclear, breastfed children for more than 3 months have a lower risk of getting these atopic conditions, said Penn State Health Children’s Hospital pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics, Dr. Steven Hicks. 

Protection against asthma

One of the diseases that hinder daily activities is asthma. And asthma is not something children can outgrow, even though some might have fewer symptoms in their teenage years. Thankfully, one of the breastfeeding advantages is preventing asthma in babies.

Women who have exclusively breastfed their babies might save them from developing childhood asthma. 

The lead author of the study, Keandrea Wilson, MD, said that mothers who exclusively nursed their babies lessen the risk of their child developing asthma or asthma-related outcomes. In fact, the longer the duration of EBF (exclusive breast feeding), the more protection the child gets. 

ACAAI Asthma Committee vice chair, allergist Angela Hogan, MD, noted that those who mixed fed their children with formula or juice did not show to have the same protection level as those who are EBF. 

Better brain performance of children who were breastfed longer

While every parent’s values regarding schooling differ from one another, we have to admit that nothing makes us happier than seeing our children achieve greatness in life. 

Whether it be in school or at work, we all want to see our offspring becoming successful so that they can survive in this cruel world. So as much as possible, we want to give the best for our children.

And by knowing about the benefits of breastfeeding, we’ll know how it impacts our children growing up.

While we can’t control how brains develop and work, there are ways we can do to help with our children’s cognitive development. And one of the things that have proven to help with it is by letting them breastfeed longer as shown in a recent study done in the UK. 

The study showed higher verbal scores in children up to age 14 for those who were breastfed longer. Similarly, those who breastfed longer have better spatial cognitive scores up to 11 years old. 

Not only that…

Mothers who breastfed their babies had better brain performance

If you think nursing only benefits your baby, then think again.

Wait, what?!

You might be surprised to know that there are also advantages of breastfeeding for the mother.

Based on a study of women aged 50 and up, nursing your baby also has a significant effect on the nursing mom. As we age, our bodies’ function declines. 

But thanks to the physiological benefits of breastfeeding, you can prevent brain performance decline. A research published in Evolution, Medicine and Public Health showed that moms who breastfed their babies performed better in 4 cognitive tests. 

Test to measure delayed recall, learning, executive functioning, and processing showed how important nursing is to moms. Moreso, those who breastfed their babies for more than 12 months showed even better performance than those who did only until 12 months. 

Protects mom from heart diseases

More and more breastfeeding health benefits for mothers are being exposed by scientists.

Read that again.

And if you’re still reluctant to breastfeed your baby after learning about the many baby breast feeding advantages, you need to continue reading.

Based on my experience, the emotional benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh its other advantages. It has become my relaxation time and is also one reason why I’m still sane. Moreover, there are a lot more reasons to consider nursing your baby.

Besides not wanting the decline of our brain functions, another thing to make you want to breastfeed your child is that it protects you from heart disease. After giving birth, I had a hard time getting active because caring for a newborn is already tiring enough. 

I’m so glad to know that choosing to breastfeed my baby can help protect me from heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancer. A study of 1.2 million women proved that those who breastfed their babies had an 11% decreased risk of getting heart disease. 

We want to live long enough without suffering from any diseases while witnessing our children’s milestones. So, if you are still unsure about breastfeeding your baby, continue reading to know more!

Nursing mothers are protected from diabetes

Just like what I mentioned in the paragraph above, women who breastfed their children are protected from diabetes and it’s proven in a study led by UT Southwestern scientists. Many older studies have proven that a woman is protected from Type 2 diabetes decades after nursing her children.

But with recent research, scientists found changes in the way the body uses insulin due to breastfeeding. They saw more insulin resistance in the liver and fat of the women who did EBF in their children compared to those who used formula to feed their babies.   

Still unconvinced? Continue to read more. 

Breastfed babies have better immune systems

The celebration for the awareness of breastfeeding is increasing because of the many goodness it offers to both mommies and babies. And for me, the best advantage breastfeeding gives to babies is its long-term positive health benefits. 

Researchers found more regulatory T cells in breastfed babies during their first 3 weeks of life compared to those formula-fed. The regulatory T cells help reduce inflammation in babies and control the immune response of the infant against cells transferred to her with breastmilk. 

Other than that, the scientists also found more bacteria like Veillonella and Gemella, that aid the regulatory T cells with their function, in breastfed babies’ guts. 

Now, you would want to get these benefits when you have a baby, won’t you? 

Breastfeeding Advantages Conclusion

It’s nice that we now celebrate National Breastfeeding Month to raise breastfeeding awareness, especially for women who don’t know the benefits they can get through EBF. 

Are breastfed babies better than formula-fed? Maybe.

Is breastfeeding good for mom? Definitely!

I’m not against women who prefer to feed their baby with formula, because what’s important is that babies are well-fed no matter what or how their mothers do. But I do hope that you’ve learned something from this post, just like I did!

Any comments or suggestions are highly appreciated! Let me know your thoughts about nursing your baby with breast milk in the comments section below! 

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