Breastmilk - Nature's Ideal First Food
There are plenty of good reasons why breastmilk is considered baby's ideal first food. Breastfeeding is by far the most natural, and most healthy way to feed your baby. Aside from promoting maternal infant bonding, breastmilk offers many other advantages which include protection against intestinal, ear and other infections.
During the first 6 months, breastmilk alone can provide virtually all the nutrients needed to ensure your baby's normal growth and development. In some cases though, but not all, exclusively breastfed babies may need to take a vitamin D supplement, depending on the amount baby's exposure to sunlight. The possible need to use supplements should be decided on an individual basis with your pediatrician.
Benefits of Breastmilk
Breastmilk is made up of a complex composition of important proteins, fatty acids, sugars, amino acids, iron and many other nutrients which are tailored to meet your baby's specific and changing needs. These nutrients are delivered in forms which are easily absorbed by your baby's delicate digestive system. Furthermore, breastmilk is always sterile, or free of germs. For these reasons, children who are breastfed tend to have fewer problems with diarrhea, constipation and other digestive upsets than children who are fed formulas.
Another major benefit of breastmilk is that it contains antibodies. Antibodies are substances created by the immune system to fight off infectious germs such as bacteria and viruses. Antibodies created in the mother's system are passed through breastmilk into the baby's system, offering temporary protection against common infections, including intestinal and ear infections. Breastfeeding also reduces the incidence of food allergies in later life, as well as promoting good mouth and jaw development.