Welcoming a newborn into your home, heart, and family is an unmatched experience, though challenging at times. One area of concern for many new families is determining whether formula or breast milk is the best feeding option. While doing what’s best for your family is essential, it’s worth exploring why nursing is so important for newborns.
Breast Milk Is More Than Nutrition
A significant fact to understand about nursing is that the process provides much more than nutrition. Yes, a newborn will breastfeed when hungry. But they may also visit the breast in need of comfort and touch. An infant spends nine months inside a warm, safe, dark environment where everything is certain and development is protected. Leaving this space and entering a world of color, sound, and light is a tough transition.
Breastfeeding in the safety of a parent’s arms, surrounded by the warmth of their touch, is secure, calm, and nourishing. This experience is much more than feeding and can offer a sense of safety from infancy through toddlerhood.
Nursing Provides Immunological Support
Another critical component of nursing is immunological support. A child’s immune system takes years to build, and feeding breast milk during the newborn phase can help build the immune system strong.
Will a baby or toddler get sick? Yes, they can and will. It’s a normal part of life. But an immune system built with breast milk antibodies is much more likely to fight off and keep severe illnesses at bay. Additionally, these antibodies reduce the chance of ear infections, respiratory diseases, allergies, and common colds or viruses.
If or when a baby falls ill, it’s vital to continue breastfeeding as often as possible to support the immune system and help the baby recover quickly. The human antibodies provided in breast milk are powerful and adapt to the breastfeeding parent’s immune responses to cater to a nursing baby’s immunological needs.
Additional Maternal Postpartum Benefits
Nursing offers emotional, mental, and physical developmental benefits to the baby. But it also provides various postpartum benefits to the birthing parent, which is another reason why exploring nursing a newborn is so important. Parents who nurse their babies for up to six months experience decreased risks of postpartum mental illnesses. Those who extend nursing beyond the first year decrease the risk of uterine, cervical, and breast cancers.
Many also argue that breast milk is free of charge, reducing the need to spend hundreds on formula. However, it’s essential to note that breastfeeding may take a mental or physical toll, which may not be free for some.
Cascade Health Care honors the importance of choosing to nurse a newborn, whether it’s for one day, one year, or beyond. We carry a comprehensive selection of lactation equipment suitable for providers and expecting parents to navigate nursing challenges and demands. For questions or concerns regarding nursing or educational materials, partner with a member of our team today.