Health Benefits of Breastfeeding For Mother & Baby
August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and no better time than now to remind parents about the significant health benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby.
Ideal Nutrition For Your Baby
Breast milk is the optimal nutrient mix for infants, it has everything your baby needs to grow — vitamins, protein and fat. It supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportion and balance of the proteins allows for quick and easy digestion.
A Healthier Baby
Breast milk acts as baby’s first vaccine. It contains many hundreds to thousands of distinct bioactive molecules that help your baby resist infections and strengthens the development of your child’s immune system. The antibodies in breast milk also has the ability to fight off viruses and bacteria that could be harmful to your baby’s health.
An Intelligent Baby
Breast milk promotes healthy brain development for your baby. A study has shown that babies who nursed had a higher IQ at the age of 30 (about 4 points higher), compared to babies who were formula fed.
Reduces the Risk of Infections
Diarrhea and pneumonia is a leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. The WHO has said that breastfeeding during the first six months is critical in preventing pneumonia , diarrhea and many other infections.
Breastfeeding stimulates oxytocin production and oxytocin helps your uterus to shrink more quickly to its pre-pregnancy size . Oxytocin may also help reduce uterine bleeding.
Some of the weight gained during pregnancy serves as an energy source for lactation. As you burn many calories during lactation you being to lose some of your pregnancy weight without compromising either your health or your baby’s health by dieting.
Lower Risks of Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer
Research has shown that breastfeeding can reduce a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and obesity. Previous studies suggested that mothers only get short-term health benefits from breastfeeding, such as weight loss and lower cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels after pregnancy.However, a new study in China found that women who breastfed their babies had about a ten percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease or stroke.
Combats Postpartum Depression
Prolactin, the milk producing hormone relieves stress and promotes relaxation. Also, the hormone that stimulates the release of milk, or let-down, is called oxytocin; this causes calmness plus feelings of love and nurture. For that reason it is often called the “bonding hormone.” And finally, breastfeeding releases endorphins, the body’s natural analgesia and feelings of well-being. These hormones work in combating postpartum depression.