Breastfeeding Timeline Reveals Benefits For Your Baby

Many moms make big plans for their little nugget while they are in utero. They have all the sensory cards laid out, the perfect mobile hanging over the crib, and a detailed breastfeeding schedule ready to go.

Veteran moms know that if there is one sure thing you can bet on in child-rearing, it’s that things often don’t go exactly as planned, but that’s part of the excitement.

Knowing that breastfeeding is optimal early on is not top secret. The question then becomes not if one should breastfeed, but how long they should stick to it.

There are scenarios where breastfeeding may not be an option, such as a working single mother with a demanding job, or health complications that limit milk production.

We are thankful for formula, or milk banks, when the need arises. For those unfamiliar with alternative options to formula, there are women who sell pumped breast milk to supplement, or fully feed, your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides the most trusted guidelines nationally for how long to breastfeed your baby and they report to continue to at least 12 months of age.

It is recommended, however, by the AAP to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet at 6 months of age, but with breast milk continuing to be their primary source of nutrition.

PopSugar Mom fills us in on some of the most beneficial health benefits of breastfeeding:

Scientific data show the benefits for breastfed babies are exponential and include a decrease in the risk for respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, and gastronomical problems. And it’s not just the baby who benefits from breastfeeding. Data show that mothers who breastfed appeared to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and even diabetes compared to women who hadn’t breastfed.”

Choosing to breastfeed in the first few days of your little one’s life is the most crucial. This is the time where your baby is getting the nutrient called colostrum.

Colostrum is a sticky yellow lactation that is often termed the baby’s “first vaccine” because of its tremendous ability to ward off bacteria, viruses, and disease in those early vulnerable days of an infant’s life.

Breastfeeding Basics reported on the long list of benefits from only a few days of breastfeeding:

Colostrum is highly concentrated, and is easy for the newborn’s immature system to digest. Its main function is to protect the newborn from infection by coating the baby’s intestinal tract and acting as a barrier to prevent the invasion of harmful bacteria. It protects your baby from illnesses that you have been exposed to, as well as illnesses that he may be exposed to. It also provides important nutrients, which is especially important for babies who are sick or premature.

 Colostrum functions as a laxative, helping clean out meconium (the dark greenish/black tarry stool that the baby’s intestines form before birth), helping reduce the incidence of jaundice in the newborn baby.”

When your milk “comes in”, which is where it changes from colostrum to thinner white milk, you and your baby won’t stop reaping the rewards there.

This abundant milk has antibodies that keep your baby protected from all the new germs they come into contact on a visit to grandma’s house. It, also, is much easier for your baby to digest your breast milk because it has proteins specifically designed for their tiny systems.

Easier digestion means less gas and colic; which can prove to be a big hurdle for many moms who are already getting little sleep.

Reuters reported:

“Babies who are breastfed – especially those only fed breast milk, and not formula as well – are less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, suggests a new analysis of past studies.”

After one year old the risk of SIDS is near zero and that is when many mothers end their breastfeeding journey.

There are many non-essential, but bonus aspects to breastfeeding. Moms tend to lose the “baby weight” quicker while breastfeeding, plus it forces you to sit down and get some much needed recovery time.

You can certainly choose to breastfeed past the 12 month mark, which continues to give your child antibodies and nutrients, but the lasting gift of your hard work pays off at 12 months.

Breastfeeding Basics reported:
Long-term nursing protects against ulcerative colitis, diabetes, asthma, Crohn’s disease, obesity, and high cholesterol in adulthood. Babies who are breastfed for a year or more are less likely to need speech therapy or have dental problems like braces later in life.”

To find out if breastfeeding works for you, give it a try. Even if the adventure only lasts a few days you have given your cutie pie a jump start on life.

You can always stop the process, but you won’t have the opportunity to begin at any point. If you make it to the 12 month mark more power to you, and you if you try and find it’s not optimal for you and baby at this point, don’t beat yourself up.

Please let us know in the comments section if you have success stories from breastfeeding your baby, or let us know how long you breastfed.