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Why Breastfeeding is the Best Feeding Method for Children and Their Psychological Development

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established the fact that babies should be fed breastmilk exclusively for the first six months of their life. This is because it is a significant source of nutrition for the child. In addition, breastmilk also serves as not only a meal but one that as well contributes to the cognitive and socio-emotional development of children. It also has a huge impact on the mental health and development of both the child and the mother. This establishes the fact that not only the child benefits from breastfeeding. The mother as well enjoys her benefits.

Breastfeeding plays a pivotal role in the psychological functions of the child. Primarily, breastmilk is composed of 90% water which hydrates the infant’s body, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. All of these nutrients contribute immensely to the growth and development of the infant. Protein in breastmilk builds, strengthens, and repairs the body tissue.

In this article, we will explore the components of breastmilk, benefits of breastfeeding for the infant and the mother. We will also explore the psychological effects or benefits of breastfeeding on the child and the mother and some common breastfeeding problems.

Table of Contents

Components of Breastmilk

Why is breastmilk recognized worldwide by health organizations as the ideal source of nutrients for the infant? What does it contain that makes it highly recommended as such? This is what we want to explore in this section of the article – components of breastmilk.

As stated in the introduction, breastmilk is made up of water, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Naturally, the woman’s body has specifically and specially produced the breastmilk to meet her child’s nutritional needs. It contains everything a baby need for proper physical growth and mental development. It does not only fulfill the nutritional and hydrational needs of the baby, it as well protects the child from falling sick because the child receives antibodies from the mother through breastmilk.


For the human body to keep on functioning well, it depends on the human body. Water helps the body to remain hydrated. It also serves as a provider of immunity for the organs of the body, ensures the lubrication of joints as well as regulates the body temperature. It is good news that the breastmilk contains water that provides all of these for the baby’s survival.


Carbohydrate provides energy for the body. In breastmilk, the agent of carbohydrate is the milk sugar known as lactose. Lactose provides energy for the child’s brain as well as promotes healthy bacteria in the baby’s intestines to prevent diseases like infant diarrhea.


Serving as fats in breastmilk, lipids make up 4% of the breastmilk. Whatever calorie your child derives from the breastmilk is from this component. Lipids contain cholesterol, essential fatty acids like DHA and also serve as a major source of energy. They also are responsible for the healthy weight your baby gains during the first exclusive six months of his or her life. All the nutrients contained in lipids are essential for your baby’s vision, brain development, and nervous system.


Proteins are essentials in the human body. They help to make hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Lactoferrin is the protein in breastmilk that ensures that iron moves through your baby’s body. It is also easy for babies to digest.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Infant and the Mother

Mothers who decide not to breastfeed their babies are at loss for two things: The benefits to the babies and the benefits to themselves. The World Health Organization has recommended that nursing mothers should breastfeed their babies up until 2 years or older because of the great benefits attached. Before you make the final decision that breastfeeding your child isn’t for you, let’s go through the benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Infant

Nutritional Benefits

Breastfeeding have several nutritional benefits for babies

Breastmilk is one thing that contains everything the baby needs for its nutritional gains. The thick and yellowish fluid that the breast produces in the first few days after childbirth is known as colostrum. It is very high in protein and helps your newborn’s digestive tract to develop. However, nursing mothers are advised to take foods rich in Vitamin D as well to enable them to dish out vitamin D to their babies during breastfeeding.

Breastmilk Contains Antibodies

Antibodies are responsible for helping your babies to fight off bacteria and viruses. Your child must be protected from every form of bacteria or viruses at the early stage of his or her life. During breastfeeding, babies receive antibodies from their mothers. Mothers who feed their newborns with formulas are at high risks of exposing their babies to viruses and bacteria because formulas do not produce antibodies.

Breastfeeding Reduces Diseases Risk

Since your child isn’t exposed to any other meal apart from breastmilk, he or she is at a lower risk of getting infected with any disease or illness. It protects your child against the middle ear, throat, and sinus infections. Your baby as well is at a lower risk of developing infections related to cold and gut infections.

Breastfeeding Promotes Baby’s Healthy Weight

Breastmilk contains lipids that contain calories to help babies develop healthy weight at the early stage of their lives. This is because research has shown that babies who are being fed with breastmilk do not gain unhealthy weight and as such become obese. Babies who are fed with breastmilk have enough leptin in their system. Leptin is a hormone that helps to regulate weight and fat storage.

Breastfeeding Makes Children Smarter

There is always an obvious difference in the brain development of babies who are fed with formulas and babies who are fed with breastmilk. Babies fed with breastmilk have higher intelligence scores. They would not also have learning difficulties as they grow older. Breastfeeding has a lot of significant and positive effects on babies’ mental and cognitive development.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother

Weight Loss

Getting rid of baby fats after childbirth can be so impossible and frustrating. You want to get that summer body back but all efforts at it most times prove useless. However, breastfeeding is one way of getting rid of baby fats as easily as possible. After three months of lactation, nursing mothers who breastfeed their babies experience a significant loss in weight, coupled with other physical activities they get involved in.

Uterus Contraction

For a faster involution of the uterus, nursing mothers are advised to breastfeed. During pregnancy, the uterus grows from the size of a pear and becomes so big that it fills your stomach. The process of involution is where your uterus goes back to its normal position.

Lower Risk of Depression

Want to know why breastfeeding is the best feeding method for children
Breastfeeding lower risk of depression in mothers

After childbirth, mothers are at risk of falling into postpartum depression which occurs shortly after childbirth. Mothers who do not breastfeed are at a greater risk of falling into this type of depression, unlike mothers who do breastfeed.

Reduces Your Disease Risk

Breastfeeding mothers are at a lower risk of getting infected by diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis, high blood fats, heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes. Because you also breastfeed, you also have long-term protection against breast and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding Prevents Ovulation and Menstruation

When you continually breastfeed your child, it pauses ovulation and menstruation, thereby ensuring that there is enough time for the body to recover and as well put enough spaces between pregnancies and births. This will also allow you to spend enough time with your newborn.

Helps You Save Time and Money

Breastfeeding is free. By deciding to breastfeed your baby, there would be no need for you to spend money on buying formulas, you’ll have more time to yourself and your baby than for cleaning and sterilizing bottles. This is because breast milk is always at the right temperature for your baby.

Psychological Effects of Breastfeeding on the Child and the Mother

Research has shown that breastfeeding has a lot of positive psychological effects on the mental health of the child and the mother. Breastfeeding mothers have reductions in anxiety, stress, postpartum depression, and negative moods, unlike the ones that use formulas in feeding their babies. They are also able to connect and bond more with their babies on a more personal level due to the level of physical contact that occurs during breastfeeding.

The impact that breastfeeding has on the psychological development of the child has to do with the enhanced social and emotional development of the child. It enables infants to have lower aggression levels and antisocial tendencies. In the research conducted by Merjonen and colleagues, it was shown that adults who were not breastfed while they were infants showed a higher level of hostility and aggression. Children who however enjoyed breastmilk showed more vigor. This is because the act of sucking enhances relaxation and pain relief.

Common Breastfeeding Problems

Breastfeeding is a skill that the mother and the child have to learn and acquire together. In this section, we will explore some of the common problems of breastfeeding for the child and the mother.

Sore or cracked Nipples

This results from the wrong positioning of the child to the breast. In a case like this, trying to put up with it can cause so much pain and discomfort for both you and the baby. Thus, it’s essential that instead of trying to work your way through it, you see your doctor, midwife, or health specialist in time.

Not Enough Breastmilk

At first, when you start feeding your child at first, it may seem as he or she is not getting enough breastmilk and this may bother you a lot. However, you have nothing to worry about. Your child is going to be just fine. Feeding your child with both breasts at each meal and alternating in between them will stimulate the supply of milk to the baby. Ensure to keep your baby close to your skin from time to time.

Breast Engorgement

There are times when your breasts feel so full and hard. It happens that they are too full of milk at times and can feel uncomfortable, hard, tight, and painful. This is what is known as breast engorgement.
This occurs when you and your baby are still new to the breastfeeding process and are trying to find a way around it. It can also happen when your baby is older and is no longer taking breastmilk as before. This is one major problem that lactating mothers face. Try to stay calm, you are not alone.

Baby Not Latching Properly

This is another huge problem that gives nursing mothers lots of concerns. Your baby not latching properly may cause pains for you and your baby not feeding well or been satisfied after feeding.

Too Much Breastmilk

Sometimes, the issue is not too little. It is too much. At this point, your child might find it very difficult to cope. As such, you need to see your doctor or health professional to help you through this. They can also help you with various positions to put your child to cope with such situations of too much breast milk.


Deciding to breastfeed or not is a very personal decision. There are so many reasons why you should decide to breastfeed your child. As a mother, you want the best for your child and this decision to breastfeed them is a very important one that can affect their entire lifetime. It is both advantageous to you and your child. It is also the most natural way to feed your child. This is because your body was created to supply nutrition to your child for his or her benefit.

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