Many women want to breastfeed their babies, but few know just how much it can benefit their child’s health. In addition to halving obesity risk and saving your child’s life from numerous other issues, breastfeeding has been shown to dramatically improve a child’s brain power, especially when done for multiple months.
Many mothers already know that breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience that helps to create the ‘cuddle’ hormone, oxytocin, between themselves and their babies. This fact alone would seem to be enough reason to breast feed if at all possible, but it turns out that breast feeding also reduces the incident of infant disease by boosting their immune systems – and helps their minds develop more fully. What’s more, the fat helps to support eye development and nervous system development as well.
A study carried out by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in the US found that healthy fats in mother’s breast milk, primarily docosahexaenoic fatty acid (DHA), is what helped infant’s brains to develop more fully. This polyunsaturated fat is highly concentrated in the neuronal membranes in the brain, especially when babies are just coming into the world.
A babies brain grows most between the ages of 1 and 3, so giving the neurons this important nutrient from the start sets up a good foundation for future growth and development. The human body has some ability to synthesize this important fatty acid on its own, but infants require it in larger amounts in order to boost brain capacity.
Another related study found that for each month a woman reports breastfeeding, her child does better on tests of language and intelligence. Overall, breastfeeding was tied to an improvement of 0.21 point on language tests after mother’s intelligence and other factors like family income were taken into account.
Mothers can make their breast milk even healthier for their children by making sure they take a DHA or Omega 3-6 supplement themselves, or eating foods that are high in this healthy fat. In addition to utilizing these 11 herbs to naturally improve lactation, here is a list of foods nursing mothers should include in their diets to ensure the cognitive development of their children:
- Fatty fish – but make sure that it hasn’t been contaminated with mercury or cesium from the Fukushima incident.
- Pasture-raised meats without antibiotics if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian. They are full of healthy fatty acids.
- Goat cheeses, milk, and other organic dairy.
- Egg yolks are full of DHAs
- Brown or wild rice
- Walnuts and many other types of nuts
- Flax seed
- Beans and lentils
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds