Your Baby’s Immune System: Learn the Health Benefits Behind Breast Milk
The human body is capable of some extraordinary things. Once a new mom has her newborn baby in her arms, her body immediately begins to adapt to her baby’s needs. As the mom’s body tends to the needs of the baby whilst in the womb, the body will continue to produce the needed nutrients in her breast milk. It’s quite incredible how the body adapts for breastfeeding.
If a baby is born underweight, the mom’s breast milk will adapt, for instance. As a result, it will contain the exact vitamins and minerals needed to keep the baby healthy and strong. You can think of it as the strongest and most nutrient-dense substance a baby can have.
Here are some of our favorite health benefits behind breast milk that make a world of a difference for the health of both mom and baby:
Human Milk Boosts Baby’s Immune System
What is inside of breast milk that makes it such a powerful nutritional source? There is an extra layer of protection against antibodies in breast milk provided by the proteins and immune cells. The 5 basic forms of antibodies found within breast milk target pathogens that may enter a baby’s immune system. After all, these antibodies attack harmful bacteria and pathogens. They keep all the healthy probiotic bacteria within the baby’s gut. To conclude, this is one of the best natural shields against disease.
Reduce Risk of Developing Disease Later in Life
In addition, breast milk can assist in reducing possible illnesses like hypertension, stroke, and heart disease at later stages in life. How is this possible?
1. Breast milk contains less sodium than formula
2. Breast milk contains a large number of healthy fats, which are crucial to the development of the tissue membrane system
3. Prevents insulin resistance early in life, adolescence, and adulthood
Breast milk has been shown to prevent childhood obesity and obesity later in life.
While related to lifestyle 95% of the time, breastfeeding can aid in preventing this because:
1. Breastfeeding involves a regulated feeding time, more so than when infants are formula-fed
2. Breastfeeding has shown to improve an infant’s feeding pattern, hence affecting appetite and satiety
3. Regarding hormones and nutritional value, there is a vast difference between formula and breast milk. An example of this difference there is a higher protein content in the formula. Conversely, while leptin exists in breast milk it does not exist in the formula. Leptin assists in regulating fat storage within the body.
Breast milk is constantly changing its nutritional profile as the baby grows, even on a day-to-day basis. For example, milk may contain higher water content when the weather becomes warmer.
For instance, when the baby becomes sick to encourage higher hydration as required. The process of breast milk matching the exact needs of the baby begins right at birth.
The beginning stages of mother’s milk include a substance called colostrum. Colostrum is thick textured milk packed with all the immunological components. Newborns need this to begin the immune system-building process. While extraneous factors, such as the mother’s diet, will impact milk volume and composition, breast milk will change to compensate for growth spurts and illness. It is a common myth that breastfeeding while the mother is sick, will harm the baby. This is not the case; antibodies to protect the baby from the virus the mother is suffering from will pass on. It is actually good to continue breastfeeding while the mother is sick!
Benefits for Mom
1. May protect mom against diabetes. Nursing changes how the body uses insulin. Studies have shown pregnancy reduces insulin sensitivity, meaning your pancreas will need to produce much more insulin for your body to use, but nursing will restore sensitivity.
2. Breastfeeding will lower the chances of having high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.
3. The first few days of breastfeeding after delivery will help shrink the uterus and regulate blood loss.
4. Breastfeeding will help with weight loss by burning about 500 calories a day to build and maintain milk supply.
5. Oxytocin, the hormone released when breastfeeding, has anti-depressant effects. It will make new moms feel more calm, reducing stress and blood pressure.
6. Breastfeeding has been shown to lower the risk of developing certain breast cancers , ovarian and uterine cancer.
7. Moms will continue to benefit from nursing way after the child stops. Studies show that breastfeeding will improve bone mineralization, making it less likely to suffer from osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
The human body is capable of so many amazing things, the relationship between mother and child is absolutely extraordinary. From the moment the child is conceived, through birth, through adolescence, continuing on throughout life, mom is always there. Thank you to all of the amazing moms out there!
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