Breast milk is the perfect first food for babies. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy to start with, but after a bit of practice, most mums and babies become super feeding teams. The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of your little one’s life – and here’s why breastfeeding is so beneficial.
Breast milk protects your baby
Breast milk contains tailor-made vitamins and minerals for your baby, and offers protection from a whole range of illnesses and potential later problems. The health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby include:
- Providing essential vitamins and minerals
Imagine the richest supplement you could find: that’s what breast milk is for your baby. It’s full of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as proteins and fats. Antibodies fight germs and hormones help with development, while long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids promote brain development.
- Prevention of obesity
Breastfed babies are better able to regulate their food intake, and they’re less likely to have too much. Because this milk is so nutritious, your baby should easily be able to drink their fill.
- Protection against SIDS
Breastfeeding protects babies against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and the SIDS risk can be reduced by as much as a half after just two months of breastfeeding.
- Cutting down the risk of later illnesses
Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of later childhood illnesses and conditions, from leukemia to asthma. It can also help prevent certain allergies from developing.
- Transferring antibodies to fight viruses
When you breastfeed your baby, you’re sharing antibodies with them. This helps the baby’s body learn to fight viruses.
- Reduced risk of infections
As well as the superpowers of the milk itself in fighting infections, breastfeeding also reduces the risk of baby picking up infections. There’s no washing, sterilising or cleaning surfaces involved, cutting down on any chances of contamination.
- Breastfeeding is good for mum’s health, too
Breastfeeding can also help with mum’s health. It reduces your general risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. And new mums – once feeding is established, breastfeeding is an easy and free way to feed your baby.
- Breast milk introduces new flavours
Because the milk changes subtly depending on what the mother’s been eating, it’s possible that a breastfed baby is more open to new flavours. This can be really helpful when it’s time for weaning. Note of caution: lay off the fried onions…
If you are breast-feeding you can drink Holle’s Baby Tea yourself to support your baby if she or he is suffering from abdominal discomfort. It contains herbs aniseed, fennel, cumin and camomile which calm and relax, helping to relieve abdominal pain and relieve wind.
- It’s always on tap…
It may not feel like this at three in the morning when you’re the only parent with the boobs; however, breastfeeding a newborn can be more convenient than making up formula feed. It also means that if your little one needs a feed when you’re out, all you need is somewhere comfy to sit for a while.
- Modern breast pumps are really good
If you need to share the feeding, you can still feed your baby your own milk by expressing it. This is far easier with a pump than manually, and the latest breast pumps are really easy to use. The milk can be stored in the fridge for a little while, and can even be frozen in special little bags for a later feed.
- Healthy alternatives to breast milk
Some mums want to carry on breastfeeding until well after weaning, while others choose to move on to a follow-on formula milk at this point. There are also plenty of mums who use formula milk from the start – and the most important thing to remember is that all feeding is good for baby!
Our organic infant and follow-on formula is designed to be as close to breastmilk as possible, to give bottle-fed babies the best start.