August is National Breastfeeding Month, which is fitting because breastfeeding is once again spikingin popularity among new moms as the preferred method of feeding their newborn babies. Breastfeeding is a personal choice that all mothers make and this trend is very healthy because breastfeeding provides so many benefits to both the mother and her baby. Chicago Healers Practitioner Dr. Marilyn Mitchell, MD, provides us with some of the benefits of breastfeeding.
· Nutrients and Enzymes- Babies who are breastfed take in nutrients and enzymes that are perfectly proportioned for a human infant. Bottled milk often comes from cows or soy and lacks the perfect blend of nutrients and enzymes that human milk provides.
· Supplemented Immune System- Breast milk also transmits antibodies from the mother to the infant, which are especially vital during the first few months of life when the infant’s immune system
is immature and lacks the ability to produce its own antibodies.
· Healthier Life- Infants who breastfeed generally have fewer illnesses during the breastfeeding period than those who are bottle-fed and develop fewer allergies in their lifetime. Breastfed babies also tend to have less colic, fewer restless episodes, and better sleep patterns than bottle-fed infants.
· Helps Mom, Too- Breastfeeding increases metabolism, which helps with post-partum weight loss. It also helps with mother-child bonding due to the mutually pleasurable experience.
It is also smart for new moms to be aware of what they consume while breastfeeding, as it can affect their child. Here is a list of things to up intake of and things to avoid:
· Fresh fruits and vegetables (organic when possible)
· Protein sources (also organic when possible)
· 8-12 glasses of water, juice, herbal teas
· Calcium rich foods (dairy, greens, legumes)
· Caffeinated beverages and all soda pop
· Foods that bother the infant (spices for some)