The greatest gift of god to humans is the production of milk for the nutrition of its offspring. That is also the major difference between a mother and a father. Care of the offspring can be done by either of the parents but, only a mother can nurture her newborn baby with her breast milk.
Undoubtedly breast milk can be called as “NATURE’S PERFECT FOOD” as there are many advantages to the baby and also mother.
The reason for breast milk being the perfect food is the presence of many bioactive components.
- Immune boosters - The milk of first few days called ‘Colostrum’ is not only rich in nutritional value but has high quantities of immunoglobulin A, lactoferrin, lymphocytes, macrophages which boosts immunity and protect the baby from infections. They contain many enzymes which promote digestion, reduces stomach upsets and reduces the occurrence of newborn jaundice
- Growth factors - Neuronal growth factors (helps in maturation of brain), Epidermal growth factors (helps in maturation of intestines), Insulin like growth factors (helps in growth of baby), Erythropoietin (prevents development of anemia)
- Exclusive breast feeding to the baby is sufficient to prevent dehydration even in hot summers
- Lactoferrin helps in iron absorption and inhibits growth of bad bacteria
- Lysozyme and lipase are 300 times higher concentration than cow’s milk which helps digestion and protective against bacteria
- Lower chances of infection as compared to formula feeds as the feeding bottles are not properly sterilized
- The bonding of mother and baby is more in breast fed babies
- There is lesser incidence of obesity, asthma, Diabetes Mellitus, Lymphoma, Leukemia in breastfed babies
Conclusion - Human milk is a complete food for the overall growth and development of the newborn baby due to presence of nutrients and bioactive particles. Breastfeeding should be largely promoted right from the antenatal period so that mother prepares herself mentally.
Larissa Waters, an Australian senator breast fed her baby in the parliament during a meeting to promote breastfeeding.
There should be strong government policies to promote breastfeeding so that there is better overall development of baby.