World Breastfeeding Week 2020: Breastfeeding! Do you know that it is one of the best gifts that you can offer your child? It not only helps your little one but also does a lot of good to you. When you breastfeed your baby, it gives you a sense of fulfilment, like you are accomplishing your motherly duty, which is a unique experience that not many get to experience. Also, it will help you connect deeply, on an emotional level with your child, which otherwise might not be possible. However, that’s not all. Breastfeeding is said to bring you additional health benefits. What are they? Take a look.
Release of good hormones
One of the main benefits of feeding your baby, apart from boosting his or her health and immune the system, breastfeeding leads to the release of useful hormones, which includes;
- Prolactin: This hormone is exceptional because it engulfs you into a peaceful and nurturing sensation and this helps you relax very well, meaning you can focus more on your child.
- Oxytocin: This hormone promotes a loving bond between you and your child. That’s why most mothers feel excellent after nursing their little one.
Health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers
- Breastfeeding helps a new mother recover from childbirth faster and quicker. It is because of oxytocin that gets released when you breastfeed, ensuring that the uterus returns to its the standard size and it also helps contain postpartum bleeding.
- Nursing your kid can help reduce your risks of breast and ovarian cancer.
- According to researches, it is seen that women who breastfeed their little ones are at a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.
- It helps reduce the risks of urinary tract infection and anaemia.
- It also reduces the risk of postpartum depression in mothers and leads to a more positive the mood in them.
Health benefits of breastfeeding for babies
- It strengthens their immune system.
- Reduces the risk of constipation, gastroenteritis, preterm necrotizing enterocolitis, and gastroesophageal reflux.
- It also reduces the risks of the child contracting cold, pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus, and whooping cough.
- Reduces risks of ear infections
- Cases of bacterial meningitis get reduced
- Lowers rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and infant mortality
- Helps reduce illness
Breast milk is the only natural food for the baby, which is all you must feed him/her for at least the first six months. Mother’s milk is filled with all the nutrients new-borns need in the exact proportions. And, these changes according to the needs and requirements of the baby. The natural system instilled in mothers works that way, and exceptionally well.
- For the first few days after the little one is born, mothers produce thick and yellowish liquid, which is called colostrum. Rich in beneficial elements, it is high in protein and low in sugar. This is what the baby must consume as soon as it is born. It helps in the development of the new-borns delicate digestive tract. However, as the baby grows, the production of milk also enhances to fill the little one’s stomach. One of the other advantages of breastfeeding your child also leads to a healthy weight in the little one and prevents childhood obesity, which can make it difficult for your baby as obesity can bring in a lot of health problems. How breast milk helps here? It is because of the good gut bacteria it possesses.
- Apart from that, it is also believed that consuming breast milk helps a kid with its intelligence. It helps in its brain development. But breastfeeding is also fantastic for new mommies who are trying to get back in shape. How? It leads to spending about 500 calories every day. However, the body’s hormonal balance is different than in regular times. It was seen that women who breastfed during the first three months lost more weight than mothers who didn’t. Nursing your child not only protects them from various diseases but also helps reduce the risk of cancer and various other health risks.
Conclusion: Finally, for new mothers who are prone to depression, breastfeeding helps you keep it away. The the hormone secreted when you nurse your child leads to oxytocin, which has long-term anti-anxiety effects. Remember that breastfeeding is the right choice for you and the baby. If you have any questions, you can always consult your doctor.
(Dr Sadhna Kala MBBS, MS, FIAMS, FACS (USA), FICOG, MAAGL (USA), Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology, Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Nehru Place, New Delhi)
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