There are plenty of good reasons why breastmilk is considered a baby’s ideal first food. Breastfeeding is by far the most natural, and healthy way to feed your baby. Aside from promoting maternal-infant bonding, breastmilk offers many other advantages which include protection against intestinal, ear, and other infections.
During the first 6 months, breastmilk alone can provide virtually all the nutrients needed to ensure your baby’s normal growth and development. In some cases though, but not all, exclusively breastfed babies may need to take a vitamin D supplement, depending on the amount of baby’s exposure to sunlight. The possible need to use supplements should be decided on an individual basis with your pediatrician.
Benefits of Breastmilk
Breastmilk is made up of a complex composition of important proteins, fatty acids, sugars, amino acids, iron, and many other nutrients which are tailored to meet your baby’s specific and changing needs. These nutrients are delivered in forms that are easily absorbed by your baby’s delicate digestive system. Furthermore, breastmilk is always sterile or free of germs. For these reasons, children who are breastfed tend to have fewer problems with diarrhea, constipation, and other digestive upsets than children who are fed formula.
Another major benefit of breast milk is that it contains antibodies. Antibodies are substances created by the immune system to fight off infectious germs such as bacteria and viruses. Antibodies created in the mother’s system are passed through breastmilk into the baby’s system, offering temporary protection against common infections, including intestinal and ear infections. Breastfeeding also reduces the incidence of food allergies in later life, as well as promotes good mouth and jaw development.
Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.