Birthowl’s natural childbirth


The Benefits of Breastfeeding

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Human breast milk is so complete in supplying the nutritional needs of human babies that in general we can say that no other food source is needed until the baby is six month of age. Even at six month of age, a well-nourished mother’s milk is an excellent source of vitamins for babies.

Breast milk is the only kind of milk which was designed by nature for human babies. Formula made from cow’s milk must be changed and added to in order to be suitable for human babies. Because formula milks must be packaged and preserved, they contain various additions which breast milk does not have. Such additives include emulsifiers, thickening agents, acid-alkaline adjusters, and antioxidant.

Cow’s milk contains proportionally three times as much as protein as human milk. Unless it is diluted, as formula is, a human baby cannot digest and absorb its nutrients. Even with dilution, the protein in cow,s milk forms curds in the baby’s stomach which are relatively large and hard when compared to the protein curds from breast milk.

The large curds from formula are digested by the baby with only 50 percent efficiency, which means half of the protein must be excreted. The protein in human breast milk, on the other hand, is used by the baby with almost 100 percent efficiency. The formula fed baby, then, must drink a greater volume than the breastfed baby in order to obtain the same nourishment.

Protection against Disease

Human milk and colostrum, the yellowish=white “early milk” which is in the breasts during the latter half of pregnancy and the first couple of days after birth, are both rich in antibodies which protect newborn babies against many diseases. Breastfed babies are less susceptible to respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Breast milk also provides good protection against stab infections babies.

From Babies, Breastfeeding, and Bonding by Ina May Gaskin

Very valuable information for the new mother. Encouraging and practical.

Photo by Raphael Goetter

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