Breast milk is the most natural and nutritious form of sustenance a mother can provide for her newborn child. It contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, as well as antibodies that help to boost the immune system of the baby as he or she develops into a blossoming child. Additionally, breastfeeding offers an unmatched bond between mother and infant, creating emotional security and trust through the skin-to-skin contact known as kangaroo care.
If you're expecting in the near future, now's a great time to consider breastfeeding your child. It comes with various benefits that your newborn wouldn't receive otherwise, as explained by our health expert Olin Idol in his book "Pregnancy, Children and the Hallelujah Diet."
"The nutrients the infant receives during these first six months will have a major impact on the long-term health of the child," Idol wrote. "At no other time in life will the baby have the same need for fats, proteins and a vast array of other macro and micronutrients, all of which are supplied in ideal quantities in breast milk."
Breast milk is another glorious natural tool given to us by God to ensure our babies can reach their maximum potential. Here are a few of the many benefits that come with breastfeeding:
Reduced Risk for Chronic Conditions
According to the Office on Women's Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the cells, hormones and antibodies found in breast milk can boost your baby's immune system, protecting him or her from illness and disease. This reduces his or her risk for developing chronic conditions and experiencing symptoms such as:
- Ear infections.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Lower respiratory infections.
- Necrotizing enterocolitis.
- Sudden infant death syndrome.
Enhanced Psychological Development
The psychological benefits that come with breastfeeding are just as important for your baby as consuming breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that holding your baby close to your body gives him or her the reassurance of physical presence, much like the warmth and togetherness the infant felt in the womb. Interacting so closely while breastfeeding gives your baby a sense of trust and protection, and the release of hormones sparks an emotional connection. Breastfeeding is one of the easiest ways to develop an immediate, strong bond between you and your baby, which is beneficial for both of you.
Reduced Risk for Postpartum Depression
The American Psychological Association reported that 1 in 7 women develop postpartum depression, which is essentially depression experienced by the mother after childbirth. There are many ways to mitigate depressive feelings, such as spending more time with family, taking on Bible study or praying, but nursing your child may be the ultimate solution to postpartum depression. While breastfeeding, the hormone oxytocin is released, which is known to promote relaxation and nurturing feelings. Consider breastfeeding a way to enhance your baby's nutrition while promoting positivity and improving your emotional health. If you're still experiencing postpartum depression after breastfeeding, share your feelings with God, and let Him shine light on your new life with your infant.
Remember: Your baby will receive the optimal nutrition and benefits of breastfeeding only if you're following a healthy and wholesome diet. Mothers can get a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals by following the Hallelujah Diet during pregnancy and beyond. For more advice on smarter eating habits while you're carrying your infant and nursing after birth, refer to Olin Idol's book "Pregnancy, Children and the Hallelujah Diet."