Benefits of Breastfeeding
This article is about breast feeding and how it supports brain development. Before I share the information from studies, articles, and textbooks, I want to say that breastfeeding is not every mother’s experience. Personally, I was unable to breastfeed my children. I tried with each child. I did not have health concerns that prevented the safety of breastfeeding. I did not reject my children in any way. My body simply did not cooperate. I have learned that for some, breastfeeding or bottle feeding is a choice. For some, breastfeeding is not a viable option. This actually exists in all cultures. In societies where formula is not an option, other mothers have helped their friends by nursing their friends’ children. The biological parents of these children still connect with and love their children deeply. In some situations, like preterm births, babies receive breast milk donated by mothers with a more than ample supply. In situations where a mother cannot breastfeed a child, but wants the child to receive breastmilk, the mother can call local hospitals or pediatrician offices asking for donated breast milk.
Although many studies and individuals support breastfeeding, a mother who either chooses not to breastfeed or who cannot breastfeed must NOT feel guilty for not breastfeeding. There are many ways we can love, support, connect with, and help our children in their development. In this article, I will share some of the information available on the benefits of breastfeeding. Formula companies consistently work to make formula match the reported benefits of breastfeeding.
Studies – Breastfed Babies
A December 2013 CBS article showed that children who were breastfed for more than six months scored higher on cognitive, language, and motor development as toddlers than children who were not breastfed for more than six months. As I mentioned earlier, formula companies continue to work to find the chemicals in breast milk that increase cognitive development so that they can simulate them for babies who are not breastfed.
Many studies have shown that human breast milk provides antibodies to help children grow healthy, strong, and develop strong immune systems. Other studies have supported this showing that breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections than bottle-fed babies. Studies have shown that one reason that breastfed babies have fewer illnesses than bottle-fed babies because mothers’ milk already is catered to their children. Babies receive nourishment from their mothers in the womb and then continue to receive personalized nourishment through their mothers’ breastmilk. Studies also have shown fewer allergies appear in breastfed babies than bottle-fed babies. It all stems from antibodies created in mothers’ breastmilk and received through babies’ digestion. A mother’s breastmilk is best suited for her own children, but donated breastmilk provides the same cognitive benefits to babies as their own mother’s breastmilk. In fact, studies show babies who received donor breastmilk were more developmentally advanced than other children.
Even though the reasons are still unknown, researchers have determined that breastfed babies eight years later have a higher IQ and perform more than eight points higher than other children. It is also plays an important role with language, social, fine motor and object response development.
One of my favorite videos regarding breastfed babies and bottle fed babies is a commercial. It reaffirms that all good parents love their children and provide for their children the best ways possible. Parents are a society to support each other in parenting. Parents are their own village. Remember, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Let us support each other in all the ways we strive to help our children.
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