Benefits of Breast Milk
The "American Academy of Paediatrics " strongly recommends breastfeeding babies for first six months. This is mainly because the benefits of breast milk are many and extend much beyond the basic nutrition needs of a baby. Moreover, scientific studies reveal that this is good for the health of the mother too.
Breastmilk has everything which a baby needs for proper development and growth. These include proteins, free water, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The table below explains.
Mean value for mature breastmilk (per 100mL)
Vitamin A (mcg)
Vitamin C (mg)
Vitamin D (mcg)
Protects the baby from a number of illnesses:
- Studies have revealed that diseases like ear infections, meningitis, stomach viruses and lower respiratory illness occur less in babies who are breast feed. Babies who are fed breastmilk exclusively develop high levels of immunity. The chances of childhood cancer is also less.
- Babies who do not have breast milk are likely to become obese during their teenage years. Babies who are exclusively on mother’s milk have very less chances of being overweight in later years.
Assures healthy ears and eyes:
- Breast fed infants suffer less from ear and eye infections. Bottle fed babies are known to suffer most from vision problems.
Has a positive effect on child IQ:
- A recent study has revealed that breastfeeding has a very positive effect on the brain development and IQ level of a child.Studies on breastfeeding and intelligence generally show that breastfeeding has a positive effect on the child's IQ.
Ensures healthy teeth:
- Poor jaw alignment and unhealthy teeth is a common problem in formula fed babies. The sucking action in breastfeeding helps in developing the facial muscles of the baby and aids in shaping of the palate.
Protects the baby from allergies:
- Babies who are fed cow’s milk or formula based milk suffer more from allergic reactions than babies who are breastfed.
Even when solids are introduced beyond the first 6 months, breastmilk in moderation is highly recommended, since it continually offers growth factors up to 2 years of age.