Until recently, one of the biggest differences between eastern and western medical practices was that eastern practices look at the whole, while western medicine had a tendency to break everything down into its parts. Breastfeeding is a prime example of this.
Note: There can be breastfeeding hurdles, especially if you’re a first-time mom. However, there are also plenty of resources. If you’re struggling on the breastfeeding front, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Overlake. (425) 454-3366. We’ll put you in touch with awesome midwives or lactation consultants who will help you get over the humps so you can breastfeed like a pro.
Breastfeeding Has Countless Benefits: Here Are 5 Important Ones
When companies make or improve their formula, they analyze gallons and gallons of human breastmilk and then try to replicate what’s inside (which is impossible, because your breastmilk contains specific antibodies and all kinds of beneficial things that are unable to be exactly replicated in a factory). What they were missing was the fact that:
- Breastfeeding releases oxytocin and other hormones that soother mother and baby, and help them bond.
- The shape of the baby’s mouth and the mother’s breast are perfectly matched, and nursing on the breast helps babies’ mouths to form and develop into toddlerhood.
- There is a laundry list of health benefits for both mother and baby.
Now, a recent study shows that not only is breastmilk best for baby, it’s best when ingested directly from the breast – rather than from pumped milk in a bottle (don’t stop pumping though! There’s no doubt that pumped breastmilk is still preferable to formula in the holistic sense!!).
- Reduced ear infections. Baby ear canals are teeny-tiny, which makes it difficult for fluid and bacteria to clear through the Eustachian tubes. As a result, babies and small children are more prone to ear infections. While previous studies showed a correlation between breastfeeding and reduced ear infections, it was thought that the antibodies and probiotics were the most likely reason. Now, a recent study shows that infants who breastfeed directly from the breast have lower incidences of ear infections than those who drink pumped breastmilk from the bottle.
Researchers can’t say exactly why this is true, but suspect that the negative pressure created by bottle feeding ends up backing up in the baby’s middle ear, where it can’t clear as easily – thereby trapping moisture and bacteria.
- Reduced diarrhea. Breastmilk poop is notoriously soft (and sweet smelling, actually!), but that is a far cry from diarrhea. Diarrhea is no laughing matter with infants and small children because they are so prone to dehydration. In the same study cited above, researchers found that babies who were breastfed for at least six-months were 30% less likely to have diarrhea, while babies fed formula had a 34% higher-risk for getting diarrhea.
Colostrum (often referred to as “liquid gold”) and breastmilk are loaded with human-specific probiotics, nutrients and antibodies. When babies don’t get that first dose of colostrum and then milk, their gut lining is never the same. The continuous indoctrination of breastmilk-derived “healthy bacteria” builds a stronger and healthier gut.
- Mo’ Money. Here’s an interesting one; mothers who breastfeed, or households with breastfeeding mothers, are wealthier than households that use bottles and formula. If you’ve looked at the cost of formula these days, not to mention the additional equipment required for bottle feeding, this is an easy one to understand. And, if you consider the higher medical costs for infants who are seeing doctors for ear infections and diarrhea, more of the “hidden costs” of formula feeding reveal themselves.
- It’s Psychic. Here is a phenomena that doctors and medical scientists can’t explain – but have proven by testing breastmilk. Unlike formula – which is “one-size-fits-all,” breastmilk can change on a daily – and even hourly – basis. There is a pheremonal/energetic connection between you, your baby and the environment. When it’s hot, your breastmilk will be waterier, to keep baby hydrated. When your baby’s going through a growth spurt, fat, protein and caloric levels will elevate to give baby more of what she needs to thrive. If your baby is introduced to new bacteria, virus or when your baby is sick, your breastmilk will increase its anti-infective properties. Truly, the mother-baby-breastfeeding paradigm is an amazing and miraculous relationship, and one that we may never entirely understand.
- Better Health for You and Baby. Here are just some of the childhood health conditions and diseases that breastfeeding helps to prevent:
–Lower respiratory infections
–Gastrointestinal infections and diseases
–SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
–Type 2 diabetes
Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too, with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Do all you can to support a healthy breastfeeding relationship with you and your baby. Keep pumping that breastmilk for baby while you’re at work – and then enjoy the sweet experience of nursing whenever you can in between.