BREASTFEEDING: AN INCREDIBLE “VALUE” TO MOM AND NEWBORN
One reason to be as healthy as possible before you give birth is that your newborn will continue to be largely dependent on mom’s immune system while his or hers is still developing. The more normal your weight, blood sugar, and inflammatory markers are during pregnancy, the better the chances that your breast milk will contain the optimum nutrient levels for your baby’s health at birth and throughout life. Not only will particular compounds in your breast milk (which are not found in formula) help your baby to avoid infection, allergies, and asthma-like symptoms, they will also reduce his or her chances of developing serious autoimmune diseases, including type I diabetes. In fact, breast-feeding has been shown to protect babies from a wide range of potential diseases and developmental issues, including obesity.
To make sure that you pass along optimum immunity and a chance to achieve a lifetime of great health for your infant, it is important that “mom” consume as many health-promoting nutrients (including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients) as possible.
Breastfeeding is also good for mom. Not only does it speed up the loss of post-pregnancy weight, is has also been shown to reduce mom’s stress level, and risk for developing future heart disease and breast cancer.
Babies were exclusively breast-fed for thousands of years. It is only as formula has become more readily available and societies have become industrialized and affluent that women have even had the ability to choose whether to breastfeed. In fact, in some instances choosing NOT to breastfeed has become a socioeconomic status symbol. Unfortunately, this is one instance in which modernization and “freedom” is not an improvement. There are, of course, some instances when a mom cannot breastfeed, and we are all blessed that companies have developed formula. For more on breastfeeding, you can purchase on Amazon my book: SuperFoods Rx For Pregnancy-The Right Choices for A Healthy, Smart, Superbaby, John Wiley & Sons, 2013.