Breastfeeding can help a new mother overcome mental woes. In this article, Dr. Nupur Gupta speaks about breastfeeding and mental health.
Pregnancy and motherhood bring a lot of changes in a woman’s life. She experiences physical, psychological and emotional changes all together that is no less than a roller coaster ride. While physical issues resolve after birth, emotional health too gets back on track with the joy of having your baby with you, psychological wellness is a matter of concern. According to Dr. Nupur Gupta, Director of Obstetrics & Gynaecologist at Well Woman Clinic in Gurugram, breastfeeding can help in improving mental wellness post-delivery.
How Breastfeeding and Mother’s Mental Well-Being Are Related To Each Other?
In conversation with Onlymyhealth, Dr. Nupur Gupta says that a mother after childbirth undergoes a lot of hormonal changes which may affect them mentally, physically and emotionally. In most of the cases, the mother may feel depressed, anxious about the new role also pushes them into stress and may have streaks of sadness revolving in and around them. This is referred to as postpartum depression, which is quite common among new mothers. While most of the mothers are advised for counselling sessions, alternate therapies to cope up with the stress, but it should be known that breastfeeding is a natural form of coping with it, states various studies.
How Does Breastfeeding Help in Relieving Mental Health Issues?
Breastfeeding is directly linked with the mother’s level of responding to the stress (a major factor that leads to depression).
- Several studies have suggested that breastfeeding is an anti-inflammatory activity, thereby reducing the chances/ risk of depression, in the short and long term.
- Further exclusively breastfeeding mothers get sound sleep in comparison to those on mixed feed or formula feed, which is also one of the vital factors for mental well-being. Breastfeeding also helps in postpartum weight loss.
- Women who became mothers during lockdown are at higher risk of postpartum depression owing to the environment around them. This impacts their psychological health which is linked with the baby’s health too. Breastfeeding can help a mother overcome all the negativity and take care of herself and the child in a better way.
- A breastfeeding mother should consume a nutritious diet that not only improves the quality of breast milk but also helps fasten postpartum recovery process. Certain nutrients are must-have in a breastfeeding mother’s diet to ensure that she and the baby both are receiving an ample amount of nutrients for growth and wellness.
“Breastfeeding does make a huge difference to the child’s health as well as the mother’s mental well-being, and thus I would ask all the mothers to breastfeed their child at least for the initial six months as a mandate. So every lactating mother needs to understand about exclusive breastfeeding and should believe in its benefits,” says Dr. Nupur Gupta.
Breastfeeding and Baby’s Cognitive Development
Breastfeeding not only contributes significantly to an improved health and mental well-being of the mothers but assists in the mental and cognitive development of the baby when it grows older. Some benefits of breastfeeding for the baby includes quick learning and reduced risk of malnutrition in the baby as breastmilk is a powerhouse of nutrients.
Now that the gynaecologist has testified for breastfeeding and mental health, every mother should consider this and breastfeed the baby for her own mental well-being.
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