The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Immunity

As you patiently wait nine months to welcome your little bundle of joy into the world, you may have read up on various books and articles on what is best for your little one. Did you know that breast milk is the best for your baby from the get-go? Even if it involves breastfeeding or expressing breast milk via the use of a hospital grade electric breast pump soon after giving birth, you should know that it is all your baby needs. Doctors recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby’s life, however, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to do so for even longer as the benefits of breast milk in terms of building their immunity is far greater than any other form of nutrient especially formula. The Australian Breastfeeding Association states “breastfed babies are less likely to get infections than are formula-fed babies”.

Breast milk, whether breastfed or bottle fed (once expressed through a breast pump such as the Medela Symphony – a hospital grade electric breast pump manufactured to mimic a baby’s natural sucking motion), contains factors that directly supports and improves your baby’s immune system. The breast milk that you produce includes a valuable mix of protein, sugar, facts and cells, and contains important elements for building your baby’s immunity with naturally produced antibodies, white blood cells, probiotics, prebiotics, and more. The great thing about breastfeeding in terms of building your baby’s immunity, if you (the mother) comes in contact  with a germ in the environment, your body will start generating the necessary antibodies that will be needed to fight the infection, that will be included in your breast milk and therefore passed to your baby.

One of the main types of antibodies found in breast milk is called “IgA” which coats your baby’s gut to block the entry of germs thus safeguarding your baby from infections that affect your baby’s mouth, stomach, intestines and lungs. In addition, babies who are fed breast milk also possess a larger thymus gland than formula fed babies, which produces a type of white blood cell used to protect from infections.

Having said that, it is important that parents of newborns seek the guidance on the various immunisations to safeguard from childhood diseases that can otherwise be prevented.  While breast milk provides the necessary boost for your child to flourish, it does not act as a substitute for immunisation. However, when your breast fed baby is vaccinated, they are able to handle and respond to the vaccine better with a higher level of antibodies being produced  in comparison to formula fed babies.

Regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding expressed breast milk, you are offering your baby a healthy boost which goes a long way to ensure your baby grows up healthy and avoids falling sick often while strengthening their immune systems.

If you are a mother who leads a busy lifestyle and would like to offer your baby expressed breast milk, choose the Medela Symphony which offers a double pumping system that allows you to express breast milk faster. Speak to ILS Babycare to find out how you can rent your own hospital grade electric breast pump that has been manufactured in partnership with the University of Western Australia and Medela.

Author Info

Ross Wallace