In my continued celebration of breastfeeding during World Breastfeeding Week it is time to talk about the benefits. Breastfeeding has loads of benefits, so many that to list them all would take most of this post. Instead I want to focus on the one that makes me feel most like a superhero. The antibodies.
An antibody is defined as a blood protein produced in response to and counteracting a specific antigen. Antibodies combine chemically with substances which the body recognizes as alien, such as bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances in the blood. (Thanks Google Define for putting it so nicely!)
Breastfed babies benefit from antibodies that a mother has in her system as a result of illnesses the mother may have had in the past. This passive immunity is fantastic for keeping our little babies healthy while they are breastfeeding.
This is incredible in itself. However, what I find to be even more amazing is that within just one hour of being exposed to an antigen that the mother’s body hasn’t encountered before, her body produces antibodies that pass to her baby through the breastmilk. WOW, JUST WOW.
It is amazing what a woman’s body is capable of doing, and certainly something to be celebrated!