Breastfeeding benefits for moms and babies
Breastfeeding is the only natural way of feeding an infant, which covers the newborn’s nutritional needs and creates unique conditions for physical and mental development in the first months of its life. WHO recommends breastfeeding as the ideal way to feed a newborn, and exclusive breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth and last for at least six months. Pacific Prime Thailand lists some of the main breastfeeding benefits for babies, moms and family budgets.
Breastfeeding benefits for babies
The most breastfeeding benefits are those for the baby. Mother’s milk is designed to provide all the nutrition a baby needs, making it the best source of nutrition for the baby. It contains a mix of vitamins, proteins, and fats – everything your baby needs in order to grow healthily. By breastfeeding your infant, you’re giving it the best start as it will also have an impact on your baby’s health in the future. Some of the breastfeeding benefits for babies include:
Lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
SIDS is every parent’s worst nightmare. It is a sudden and unexplained death of a child less than one year of age. While the cause of SIDS remains unknown, research has shown that exclusive breastfeeding can significantly lower the risk.
Strengthen the child’s immune system
Mother’s milk contains antibodies and protects the baby against illnesses. Exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age helps protect an infant from gastrointestinal infections and decrease its mortality rate.
Reduce risks of allergies
Being able to eliminate the risks of allergies, asthma, eczema and other diseases by merely breastfeeding is a beautiful gift that any mother can bestow to their child. These conditions can affect a child’s life in the long term. It not only benefits the children’s health but also the parents’ wallet.
Lower risks of obesity
Infants who exclusively consume breast milk for the first six months are also less prone to obesity, according to WHO. Obesity increases the risks of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It has been suggested that breastfeeding may prevent the development of obesity, not only in early life but also in the long term.
Breastfeeding benefits for moms
Breast milk doesn’t require any prior preparation, bottles, and pacifiers. It’s always at the right temperature and has a natural ability to adapt as your child grows. An example is a transition from colostrum to transitional milk to mature milk. Besides, the amount of milk produced also norms with the frequency of attachment to the breast. Nursing mothers don’t have to worry about the preparation of the baby formula, its expiration date, and its introduction to the baby’s diet.
Health benefits for moms
Besides the advantages described above, there are a number of scientifically proven health benefits for the breastfeeding mothers:
- Breastfeeding helps mom to regain her pre-pregnancy weight faster as the nursing mother’s body burns about 500 extra calories a day to build and maintain a milk supply.
- Breastfeeding fosters recovery from pregnancy and childbirth by stimulating the uterus to contract and returning to normal size. It all happens in about six weeks postpartum, compared with ten weeks if a woman doesn’t breastfeed.
- Regular breastfeeding increases the production of prolactin – a hormone affecting the good mood of a nursing mother who becomes gentle, more patient and resistant to the hardship of motherhood, and also decreases the risk of postpartum depression.
- Breastfeeding also reduces the risks of breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in moms.
All the advantages of breastfeeding can be seen, measured and even counted. However, there is one breastfeeding benefit that one can’t see but only feel. It’s the strong emotional bond between the mother and the child.
Financial benefits of breastfeeding
Besides health, there are other breastfeeding benefits, such as the financial ones. Research consistently supports that breast milk is the safest and most nutritious feeding method for babies — and the cheapest too. In which ways can breastfeeding save you money?
Breastfed babies have fewer overall infections and hospitalization than formula-fed infants, allowing parents to save money on prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines. Parents of healthier babies would take less leave due to the health problem of their child, and thus enhance efficiency and productivity at work.
Baby formulas and whole milk
Baby formulas can be expensive: an average price for 500g of infant formula in Thailand can cost about 18 USD and last for nearly a week, assuming that the baby has eaten the amount you prepared within a few hours. Storing a prepared formula longer than a few hours (up to 24 hours in the fridge, depending on the formula brand) may result in your baby getting sick.
Benefits of planning in advance
Being well prepared for a new life is a number one of every parent’s list. That’s why planning for the latest addition to the family is a smart move, especially if a young couple is living abroad. There are a few essential things parents need to think about before even trying to get pregnant. One of these things is that parents should make sure they are well-prepared financially for pregnancy, and obtaining the right insurance products can help them manage baby-related spendings.
If you are planning on expanding a family while living outside of your home country, your best option is to secure a maternity plan, at least ten months before getting pregnant. Why is that? Since insurers see pregnancy like a pre-existing condition, and such policies come with a waiting period of ten months to one year. During that time, no expenses related to maternity will be covered, and you would pay out of pocket for any prenatal check-ups, as well as delivery costs, which can be expensive in Thailand’s best private hospitals.
Newborn and child insurance
While maternity insurance plans also cover the first 30 days of a newborn’s life, babies need some extra care during their first months and years on this planet. Newborn insurance covers the costs related to:
- Congenital birth defects
- Premature birth
- Inpatient visits
Some specific plans cover additional benefits including outpatient visits, vaccinations, dental, vision, and more.
In addition to maternity specific insurance, mothers should also enroll in an individual or a family health insurance plan. From breastfeeding complications to postnatal depression and just a simple cold, mom’s health is as important as the baby’s.
Whether you are looking for a maternity or a full family health insurance plan, our insurance experts at Pacific Prime can help you make the best decision. Feel free to contact us at Pacific Prime Thailand anytime for a free quote and plan comparison.
When she isn’t writing, you are most likely to find Elwira in search of the perfect plant-based burger or enjoying Hong Kong’s great outdoors either at the beach or from the boat - the closer to the sea, the better!
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