The old adage “breast is best” receives more credence as there is more research that is being done into it. It isn’t just that breast milk contains antibodies that the mother transmits to her newborn baby; recent research has also shown that the body’s natural defenses are activated by breast milk, unlike when a baby is fed formula.
Women are advised to offer a baby nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life and there are many benefits of breast feeding in accordance with this advice:
- In general breast fed babies develop fewer illnesses such as ear and chest infections, and several other illnesses.
- Even later in life, children are less likely to be obese, develop eczema or asthma and even high blood pressure if they are breast fed.
- Breast milk regulates development of the intestine and intake of breast milk was seen to trigger changes in the gut that were seen to be linked to the genes according to researchers. In other words, genetic pathways are created among breast fed babies that are different than formula fed babies. It is the active compounds present in breast milk that causes an increased response to it among babies.