Babies who are breast fed are indeed blessed; so also are their mothers. Breast fed babies get the much-needed healthy start in life. Human milk is the right blend of all nutrients that are essential for the growth of the baby. Lactating mothers do not have to search for additional health supplements for the proper development and growth of their babies’ brain and immune system. Breast milk provides the baby with the immunity power to fight against infections such as bacteria, virus and other parasites. Human milk is also well–protected from infectious germs that the mother may carry. It is also found that formula-fed babies tend to be obese during the later stages of their lives. This is evident from the observation that a breast-fed baby is likely to be thinner than formula fed baby even at the age of one.
Lactation benefits mothers as well. When a woman breast feeds her baby, a particular hormone that enables the uterus to gain its previous shape gets released. Moreover, blood loss after delivery can also be effectively minimised through breast feeding. Studies indicate that breast feeding a child up to the age of two will reduce the mother’s risk of premenopausal and even post-menopausal breast cancer. Lactation also makes a mother less prone to ovarian cancer.
New studies points that a protein present in human milk, namely, human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumours (HAMLET) induces apoptosis. Apoptosis is body’s natural mechanism through which it effectively recycles a material that is not needed for its functioning. Studies in this regard have taken scientists to conclude that breast milk plays an important role in minimising certain kinds of cancer.
It is advisable for working mothers to make use of breast pumps. These devices help mothers to save their milk so that it can be given to their babies even when they are away at work.