There is no doubt that breastfeeding your baby is the best choice you can make for his health. Breast milk gives your baby the perfect blend of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as the micronutrients like Iron, Zinc, and Vitamins that keep your little one healthy while supporting his rapidly changing growth needs. It has the right proportion of whey and casein proteins, making it digestible, therefore avoiding any strain on an infant’s fragile organs. Along with this protein ratio, breast milk also contains essential fatty acids, which play a role in organ development, brain growth and healthy functioning of the body. This is critical as the physical growth might be obvious to the parents but the cognitive development is not.
Beyond Physical Growth
But breast milk does more than supporting your baby’s physical health and growth. It is also a source of nutrients that are essential for healthy and appropriate brain growth and development of cognitive function during the early years.
Early Brain Development
Breast milk also provides essential fatty acids, which the human body cannot produce on its own. These include Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (LC PUFAs) - DHA and ARA, which are essential nutrients in infant growth, health and brain development. They play a role in the development of the central nervous system, impacting a baby’s neural maturation. ARA also plays a role in immunity and immune response. Infants who receive a good balance of ARA and DHA, which can be found in breast milk, have been found to have better vision and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
At this early stage, the nutrition from breast milk plays an especially important role in brain development because most brain development occurs before the age of 2 years. A shortage of any kind of nutrient can set back development.
The early years are formative in creating a long term impact due to the rapidly occurring growth and development of tissues, organs, bones and the brain. These early years shape cognitive development, which will influence your little one’s cognition in the future as well. DHA and ARA from breast milk are an important component in these developments. Make sure that during these years, your baby has the best nutrition that will help support their needs. It is important for you to choose to breastfeed, as it is the best gift of health for your baby’s body as well as his brain.
Disclaimer: All the information provided in the blog is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Start Healthy Stay Healthy programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child.