EARLY LIFE NUTRITION
Breastfeeding Benefits Baby and Mum
In the short-term, breast milk confers passive immunity and protection to the infant via the transfer of antibodies and other immune-boosting nutrients. This form of passive immunity protects the infant against a range of infectious diseases (particularly in the tummy and chest) in the early weeks and months of life when they are at their most vulnerable. Exclusive breastfeeding also helps prevent exposure to other germs or bacteria, as well as impurities that might be present in the environment.
An important example of this is the protection against diarrhoea, one of the leading causes of death in children under five years of age. In the longer-term, recent evidence suggests that breastfeeding could improve the overall health outcomes of children. It has been shown to reduce the risk of excessive weight gain and obesity as they get older - this is thought to be due to more efficient energy metabolism in breastfed infants. These metabolic adaptations may also be responsible for lower blood pressure and cholesterol load as they reach adulthood. Breastfeeding also delivers a range of benefits for mums. It has been shown to positively impact maternal health through reducing the risk of both breast and ovarian cancers, as well as Type 2 diabetes.
Find out more about the wonders of breast milk.