Breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.
That’s one reason the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (although any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial). Numerous studies from around the world have shown that stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis occur less often in breastfed babies and are less severe when they do happen. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid food, formula, or water) for at least six months seems to offer the most protection.
Infancy Oral care
Your breast milk is specifically tailored to your baby. Your body responds to pathogens (virus and bacteria) that are in your body and makes secretary IgA that’s specific to those pathogens, creating protection for your baby based on whatever you’re exposed to.
Breastfeeding’s protection against illness lasts beyond your baby’s breastfeeding stage, too. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce a child’s risk of developing certain childhood cancers. Scientists don’t know exactly how breast milk reduces the risk, but they think antibodies in breast milk may give a baby’s immune system a boost.
What to do and how to clean your baby’s teeth and gums:
Here are some east ways to take care of your baby’s teeth and gums:
- Teething rings.Let your baby chew on a clean, cool teething ring or cold washcloth. Just avoid giving your child anything that is small enough to choke on. Also avoid a teething ring with liquid inside that could break open.
- Gum rubbing.Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
The main cause of tooth decay is sugar. It’s not just the amount of sugar that can be harmful, but how often it’s eaten or drunk throughout the day.
- Every time your baby has something sugary, it starts to break down the mineral surface of his teeth. Your baby’s teeth can recover after eating something sugary, but it can take hours. If your baby has something sweet at regular intervals throughout the day, his teeth won’t have time to repair themselves.
- Only offer your baby sugary food and drink at mealtimes, so that there will be several hours between the times he has something sweet.