Benefits of Breastfeeding

January 9, 2023

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Breastfeeding is the natural way to provide newborns and infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. It is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, and that breastfeeding continue for at least the first year of life, along with the introduction of complementary foods. Here are ten major benefits of breastfeeding:

  1. Breast milk is the perfect food for infants. It contains all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that a baby needs in the right amounts.
  2. Breastfeeding helps to protect against infections and diseases. Breast milk contains antibodies that help to boost the baby's immune system and protect against illnesses.
  3. Breastfeeding may help to reduce the risk of certain chronic conditions in both infants and mothers. These conditions include asthma, allergies, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
  4. Breastfeeding can help to strengthen the bond between a mother and her baby. It provides an opportunity for physical and emotional closeness that can be very comforting to both the mother and the baby.
  5. Breastfeeding can be more convenient than formula feeding. Breast milk is always ready and available, and there is no need to prepare bottles or sterilize equipment.
  6. Breastfeeding can save time and money. There is no need to purchase formula, bottles, and other feeding supplies, and there may be reduced healthcare costs for the baby.
  7. Breastfeeding may help mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.
  8. Breastfeeding can be beneficial for the environment. It produces no waste and requires no packaging, unlike formula.
  9. Breastfeeding can be a comforting and relaxing experience for both the mother and the baby.
  10. Breastfeeding can be an empowering experience for mothers, as it allows them to provide the best possible nourishment for their baby.

Several of the many genes involved in breastfeeding that have common variations that affect milk quality:

  • FUT2 – gene that determines "secretor status"
  • FADS1 – gene that is involved in the synthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) like DHA and AA
  • ELOVL5 – gene involved in the synthesis of very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLCPUFAs), like DPA and EPA
  • SLC30A2 – gene involved in the transport of zinc ions across cell membranes

So how much does genetics affect breastfeeding and lactation? A lot!

Genetic and Physiological Factors Affecting Human Milk Production and Composition

Review of Infant Feeding: Key Features of Breast Milk and Infant Formula

Human milk oligosaccharides: Every baby needs a sugar mama

Influence of Gestational Age, Secretor, and Lewis Blood Group Status on the Oligosaccharide Content of Human Milk

For more information about how you can assess your own genetic profile as related to breastfeeding and lactation, please check out our NutraHacker Lactation Report Description.

Or to get going without any further delay, upload raw DNA data and find out what your genetic breastfeeding and lactation profile is today.