There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and baby, some of which extend lifelong. The biggest reason is that nature intended it this way. Breast milk contains just the right amount of macro and micronutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties and antibodies from the mom.
Besides the mother's mature immune system prepares antibodies against common microbes and these antibodies are released in the mother's milk. They coat the lining of the baby's gastrointestinal system and protect them against illnesses, often for life.
Moreover, breast milk at the right temperature is not infected, unlike bottles and nipples, which could often be infected if not handled with care.
Breastfeeding mothers lose weight sooner than those who do not breastfeed. They burn around 500 extra calories per day and become fitter earlier. Blood loss following delivery is also less due to the same reason.
There are also lesser chances of anaemia and urinary tract infection in breastfeeding mothers. Women who breastfeed also have reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
As the mom bonds with the baby with this skin to skin contact, there are “happy hormones” that are released which leads to less chances of postpartum blues and depression. There is a greater feeling of self-esteem and confidence which is emotionally rewarding.
Breastfed babies cry less and this shapes their behaviour for life. These mothers are able to read their babies' cues more and tend to be more relaxed. Apart from that, breastfeeding is less expensive and safer than formula feed.
Benefits to the baby
Babies of breastfeeding mothers have less diarrhoea, constipation, gastroenteritis and preterm necrotising enter colitis. They have a stronger respiratory system and fewer chances of getting colds, pneumonia and other related illnesses.
There are lesser chances of ear infections like otitis media and of infections like bacterial meningitis, and eye infections. They are also likely to have better vision.
These babies will grow up to be healthier children in later years too with less likelihood of allergies, asthma, eczema, obesity, childhood diabetes and will have a host of other advantages.