- Dr. Lesa Lawson
The Breast is Still the Best
Healthy babies -yes!
Ideal nutrition for babies is found in breast milk. Breast milk contains a mix of vitamins, protein, and fat that helps your baby to grow, while strengthening the developing immune system. Antibodies in this milk helps babies to repel viruses and bacteria and lowers their risk of having asthma or allergies, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea and vomiting.
Bonding of mom and baby occurs most during breastfeeding. It teaches babies to feel secure during that time of touch, eye contact, and calm.
This article from womenshealth.gov sums it up nicely:
Your first milk is liquid gold. Called liquid gold for its deep yellow color, colostrum (coh-LOSS-trum) is the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Colostrum also helps your newborn infant's digestive system to grow and function. Your baby gets only a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, because the stomach of a newborn infant is tiny and can hold only a small amount. (Visit How to know your baby is getting enough milk to see just how small your newborn's tummy is!)
Your milk changes as your baby grows. Colostrum changes into mature milk by the third to fifth day after birth. This mature milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It looks thinner than colostrum, but it has the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs for healthy growth.
The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breastmilk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and changes to meet your baby's needs.
Research suggests that breastfed babies have lower risks of:
Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Lower respiratory infections
Necrotizing (nek-roh-TEYE-zing) enterocolitis (en-TUR-oh-coh-lyt-iss), a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in pre-term infants
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Type 2 diabetes