Why should I choose to breastfeed my baby?

Why should I choose to breastfeed my baby?

Breastmilk is the natural food for your baby. Babies in their first two years of life are more vulnerable to infection because their immune system is less efficient to produce antibodies. Breastmilk, especially colostrum (also known as the “first milk”), contains natural antibodies, living cells, enzymes, etc., which can fight, control and kill bacteria. Therefore, breastmilk can enhance your baby's immunity and reduce her chance of having many illnesses, in particular, intestinal and respiratory infections.

Breastmilk is a living substance. Its composition covers a wide range of nutrients that will adjust accordingly to meet your baby's needs at different developmental stages. Breastmilk contains a variety of fatty acids, including DHA and Taurine, which help the development of the brain, eyes and guts. Besides, the digestive enzymes in breastmilk also facilitate your baby to digest and absorb high-quality nutrients.

Since breastmilk contains large amounts of antibodies and living cells, exclusive breastfeeding acts as if forming a protective film in your baby's gut which helps to defend bacteria and allergens. On the contrary, mixed feeding, i.e. breastfeeding supplemented with formula milk or water, will reduce the effect of the protective film and hence increase the risk of infection and allergy.

Breastfeeding also provides many benefits to you:

  • It helps contraction of the uterus and hence reduces postpartum bleeding or anaemia
  • It helps to reduce the body weight gained during pregnancy
  • It reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers
  • It allows intimate contact that promotes mother-baby bonding, which also enhances your satisfaction
  • You can breastfeed anytime. It is convenient, time saving and economical

Moreover, breastfeeding is more environmental-friendly as it saves all the resources that would be used for manufacturing and reconstituting formula milk.

To learn more about infant feeding, please contact the healthcare professionals of the Obstetrics / Paediatric service or Maternal and Child Health Centres for advice.