It is very crucial for the mother to ensure that her child is healthy and immune from all the health hazards that the baby is prone to from our polluted environment. For a new born, the best way to protect the baby from the health issues is through Breast Feeding as it is the best method for securing the health of the baby.

The mother must breast feed the child for an initial period if at least 6 months and dispense all the baby’s nutrition through it and after that some semi-solid food must be accompanied with it. This also imparts defence against infections and diseases beyond the stage of breastfeeding and this protection even lasts for years.

Also Read: Health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby

The Breast Milk has all the vital vitamins and minerals and even caters beyond the basic nutritional values of the baby as it is chockfull with numerous disease fighting nutrients. Problems like ear infections, meningitis and respiratory diseases are less likely to happen to those babies who have been well breast fed by their mothers as they have secured and endangered by the nutrients present in the mother’s milk.

The following points have been rolled out to how mother’s milk ensures the wellbeing of the child:

1. Breastfeeding is a natural phenomenon where the mother’s milk supplements multiple nutritional values and also reduces the risk of cancer for both mother and the baby. It lowers the risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the mother which has captured a large segment of women in the entire world.

2. The process of breastfeeding kills multiple calories and excessive fat in the mother’s body. The whole of this process acts as a calorie incinerator by shedding out excess weight from the body too but women who are lactating also tend to have an increased appetite since a lot of nutrition is being derived the mother.

3. When a woman is pregnant and lactating, her body starts absorbing more calcium thereby reducing the risk of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis, a condition is which the bones start become weak.

4. The breast milk has several nutrients which tends to eliminate the threat of various life threatening diseases like pneumonia, hepatitis, diarrhoea etc. and makes the baby resistant, stronger and healthier.

5. Breastfeeding saves a lot of time and money as the money and times spent on formula, bottles and their sterilization is saved. The Formula Milks have the hassle of making it and must be at the right temperature for the baby. Whereas, mother’s milk is complete free of cost and is always at the perfect temperature for the baby. Mother’s milk on the other hand, takes a little extra effort.

6. Mothers who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of postpartum depression as women with depression are less likely to be able to breastfeed their children after a certain period of time. Depression is also likely to cause numerous hormonal changes thereby affecting the maternal caregiving and bonding with the child.

7. Cholesterol present in the breast milk promotes the brain growth, intestinal bile juices and hormonal balance in the baby.

Apart from these benefits to the baby and the mother, the mother also goes through several challenges like inverted sore and nipples, pumping of milk, distressing about if she will be able to produce enough milk, blocked ducts, infections and breast engorgement. But, often these challenges are overlooked with the benefits it provides to the baby.

In conversation with Dr. Rita Bakshi, Senior Gynaecologist and Founder, International Fertility Centre.

Dr. Rita Bakshi is a Senior infertility specialist & gynecologist Dr. Rita Bakshi is the chairperson of International Fertility Centre.