Health experts say that breastmilk is one of the most nutritious things you can give to your children and that breastfeeding is one of the best ways to nourish your child. Several studies show that breastfed children grow up healthier and less sickly than children who never had the chance to be breastfed. For this and its other health benefits, breastfeeding has gained so much popularity among health experts and mothers alike. Recent studies have also linked breastfeeding to decreased likelihood of snoring in children.
Breastmilk is full of antibodies that help build your child’s immune system so that he can effectively fight off viruses and bacteria. Children who were breastfed are also said to have fewer instances of having respiratory illnesses, stomach problems, meningitis and ear infections. Health experts even recommend exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months to get the most protection from illnesses. Exclusive breastfeeding meant that your child will not be given any formula, solid food or water during the first 6 months of his life.
Breastfeeding and Snoring
Breastfeeding is not only nutritious but as it turns out that breastfeeding can also reduce the chances of snoring during childhood. The topic of a study published in 2014 was the relationship of breastfeeding and snoring in children. They followed the lives of 450 participants from birth up to their 8th year and recorded the breastfeeding frequency for all participants.
The parents of children who were fully breastfed for more than 3 months during their infancy reported that habitual snoring was less common than children who were fully breastfed for less than 3 months. The study further concluded that children with a family history of asthma who were breastfed for longer than 1 month had decreased risks of apneas.
The same study concluded that breastfed infants had less instances of habitual snoring as they grew up because of proper oropharyngeal development. A mother’s breast, as compared to a rubberized nipple on a feeding bottle, is softer and adjusts to the baby’s mouth as he feeds. This allows for the natural development of his oropharynx and reduces the chances of airway dysfunctions which can cause sleep-disordered breathing.
This is not to say that your child will never experience snoring during his childhood if you breastfeed him exclusively. It just states that the chances of your child forming habitual snoring are lessened. Children will still snore if they played outside too long and got really tired. Other internal and external factors also contribute to your child’s snoring.
Why is This Information Important?
Studies show that children who snore during childhood are more likely to have behavioral issues as they grow up. Snoring in children are also signs that they are not having enough quality sleep which could affect their behavior and moods. Children who lack sleep are grumpier and less likely to want to follow their parent’s instructions. Lack of sleep in children can also hamper their body’s natural growth and development. Your child could end up short for his age, develop insomnia, and may not do well in school because of lack of sleep. Snoring also sometimes indicates that your child may have respiratory problems.
What the Experts Agree On
This study, among others, proves that there is a relation between snoring during childhood and breastfeeding. Experts also agree that the timing as to when you start breastfeeding is also important. It is recommended that mothers should breastfeed from birth in order for their child to get the most out of breastfeeding. This will help the child’s body develop naturally early on in his life. Experts also agree that alternating between breastfeeding and bottle feeding for the first 6 months of your child’s life will not give him the full benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding alone won’t stop your child from snoring during his childhood. Ensure that your child has ample time to sleep. His sleep patterns should also be regulated during his infancy so that he will have enough sleep at all times. Have your child sleep at the same time every day and try not to disrupt this schedule if you can. Make sure that your child’s sleeping area is quiet and free of distractions and unwanted noise. The temperature around his room should also be just right. Not too hot and not too cold.
If you suspect that your child is developing habitual snoring, you should have him checked by a sleep expert. Habitual snoring is different from occasional snoring. It usually involves snoring 3 or more times per week whereas occasional snoring happens less frequently.
What You Can Do to be Able to Breastfeed Longer
As parents, you want the best for your child. After knowing that breastfeeding for 3 months or more can reduce the chances of snoring during childhood, you’ll want to make sure that you are prepared to breastfeed your child for longer periods. For some mothers, breastmilk comes out naturally after they give birth. For others, unfortunately, it is not. What can you do to help get more breastmilk?
- Nurse frequently – the more you nurse, the more your breasts produce milk. Your aim is to remove the milk from the breast as much as possible to make way for new milk to be produced. When you stop nursing milk production also stops.
- Use both breasts – Don’t just let your baby feed on one side. Once he is done feeding on one breast offer the other. You can switch sides as often as 2 times during one feeding session.
- Rest, sleep and eat well – Take care of yourself as you breastfeed. Babies get their nutrients from your breastmilk. These nutrients come from the food you eat so eat only healthful foods.
Breastfeeding is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child. The health benefits of breastfeeding coupled with the fact that it decreases the chances of snoring during childhood makes it the perfect food for your child. It’s also a way to bond and reduce chances of post-partum depression so it benefits not just your child but you as well. Breastfeed your child as much as you can to help prevent snoring early in his life.