Breastfeeding – how long should you breastfeed for? What are the benefits for my child? Not all women can breastfeed and this is OK too, there are alternatives for you and your child, to allow your baby to obtain rich nutrients to grow.
Horta et al (2015) showed babies breastfed longer that 12 months had an IQ 20% above the average. The World Health Organisation recommends that 6 months or more is an adequate time for a mum who can produce milk and breastfeed. There after nutritious foods should be introduced and your baby continued to be breast feed for up to two years.
Six months of breast feeding enables your baby to obtain nutrients for its rapidly developing brain, a healthy gut and immune system. It also supports your baby to grow at a healthy rate and avoid health issues in the future. Breast milk is the perfect mix of vitamins proteins and fats.
What happens if I cant breastfeed?
- Infant formula containing prebiotics supports gut bacteria in your baby’s gut very similar to that found in breastfed babies.
- A study from Arslanogu, S et al (2008) mimicked prebiotic breast milk in infant formula, which can be safely used as an alternative.
- It is recommended if using a prebiotic infant formula to use it for at least 6 months as would be done with breastfeeding.
- Arslanogu, S et al (2008) proved that if feeding your baby the prebiotic formula longer than 6 months, your baby will receive the same benefits as breastfeed infants.
- These benefits include the reduced instance of allergies and infections as children and in later life.
Why should I breast feed?
- A healthier baby, breast-feeding reduces the incidences of pneumonia, colds and viruses.
- Reduce the risk of developing health issues, such as type I diabetes, celiac disease, obesity and Crohn’s disease
- Lowers the chances of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
- Current research has shown breastfeeding can have an influence the development of heart attack, asthma, and cancers in your baby’s adult life.
- Research also proves that breast feeding can decrease the risk of obesity and diabetes
Breastfeeding is also a wonderful way for mother and baby to bond, it releases oxytocin, which is our love hormone and supports the bonding process. Ladies! Please also remember in order to have a healthy baby, you need to be healthy yourself. Happy and healthy mothers lead to happy and healthy babies.
Follow a nutritious diet, with a variety of non-packaged products and fresh produce:
- Protein from meat, eggs, dairy, legumes and nuts
- B Vitamins from leafy greens, whole grains, avocado, nuts, fish, whole grains, beans and Brussels, essential for metabolizing proteins and healthy growth and development
- Iodine to support thyroid function, found in seafood and milk
- Zinc for the immune system, found in seafood, legumes and nuts
- Water breast milk is the baby’s source of hydration. Breast milk is 87% water. It is important to keep both mum and bub well hydrated.
Take home note – An all round healthy diet for mum and bub has many healthy benefits, in early childhood through to adult life. And this is a time for mum and baby to really get to know each other, a special time.
Horta, B, L., de Mola, C, L., Victora, G, C (2015). Breastfeeding and intelligence: a systematic review and meta-analysis ‘ACTA Peadicatrica’ 10, 1111, 13139.
Arslanoglu., Moro Joachim , G, E., tTandoi, S, L., Rizzardi, S., Boehm, G (2008). Early Dietary Intervention with a Mixture of Prebiotic Oligosaccharides Reduces the Incidence of Allergic Manifestations and Infections during the First Two Years of Life ‘The Journal of Nutrition’ 138, 6, 1091–1095.