The Importance Of Nursing Your Baby With Down Syndrome.

The benefits of breastfeeding are universal to all babies and mothers. However, babies born at a disadvantage have even more to benefit than other children. Breastfeeding your baby with Down syndrome will minimize the problems associated with this syndrome and help your child fulfill his potential.

Your Baby's Health

Children with Down syndrome have reduced immunity. They are more prone to sinus and ear infections than other babies. They are also more prone to problems with their digestive tract. Breastmilk contains antibodies and other defense mechanisms that protect your baby against infection. It aids in the development of your baby's immune system, keeping him healthier throughout life. Down syndrome babies are also prone to problems with their digestive tracts. Besides coating their gut against offending microorganisms, breastmilk is the easiest food for your baby to digest.

Babies with Down Syndrome tend to be hypotonic. Breastfeeding tones the muscles of the baby's tongue, lips and face. The extra tone helps the baby with lip closure, discourages tongue thrusting, prepares the baby for eating solid food and aids in speech development.

Cognitive Development

Many studies have shown that breastfeeding raises IQ levels. This is especially important for a baby born at a disability. By breastfeeding your baby you help him reach his highest possible potential. Though other early interventions help as well, nothing can duplicate the effects that breastfeeding has on your baby's developing brain.

The extra touch and stimulation that come hand in hand with the act of breastfeeding are also beneficial. Being with you in skin-to-skin contact and interacting with you help your baby's development.

Mother - Baby Connection

For many mothers the discrepancies between the baby they fantasized about throughout their pregnancy and the real baby born to them makes bonding difficult. This can be especially true if you were not expecting your baby to be born with Down syndrome. Breastfeeding has been proven to strengthen the bond mothers have with their babies. It is also empowering to mothers who may otherwise feel helpless, to know that they are helping their babies. Down syndrome babies are often very quiet and sleepy. The interaction you have while nursing gives you an opportunity to get to know your baby. If you have nursed other children or are around other nursing mothers, nursing your special baby helps you focus on how alike she is to other babies.