Health Benefits of Breastfeeding & Breastfeeding Myths & Facts
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective methods to ensure a baby’s good health and well-being. According to WHO, if breastfeeding were to be scaled up to near universal levels, about 8, 20,000 child lives would be saved every year! Breastfeeding for the first six months is crucial for both the mother and the child. However, along with giving other feed substitutes, it is healthier for the baby and mother if breastfeeding period is extended up to two years.
Through this article, we will focus on the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and the mother, and also on myths and facts related to breastfeeding.
- Health benefits of breastfeeding for the mother
- Health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby
- Myths and facts related to breastfeeding
Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother
Breastfeeding promotes faster weight loss after birth by burning extra calories for the mother to attain her normal weight.
Breastfeeding helps by causing lesser postpartum bleeding.
There are lesser chances of postpartum depression if a mother breastfeeds regularly.
Breastfeeding stimulates the uterus to contract and return into its normal size.
A breastfeeding mother has lesser chances of getting anemia.
Breastfeeding produces naturally soothing hormones which help in reducing stress and calms the mother.
Breastfeeding creates a bond between the mother and the child which enables her to read the cues of what her child needs.
Breastfeeding helps in boosting confidence and self-esteem.
Breastfeeding helps the mother by preventing long term diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart diseases, diabetes, etc.
Breastfeeding helps in prevention from menstruation and ovulation. While a woman is continuously breastfeeding, her body does not release the hormone which is essential for ovulation (the process of releasing of eggs from the ovaries).
Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby
Breastfed babies have stronger immune system as breast milk provides abundance of absorbed nutrients, antioxidants and live antibodies that travel directly from the mother to the child. These antibodies made from the mother’s mature immune system enter her milk to prevent her child from any illness.
Breastfed babies have lesser chances of contracting diarrhea, constipation, pneumonia, whooping cough, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), etc.
Breastfeeding protects the baby from any ear infections that can even lead to loss of hearing.
Breastfed babies are observed to have better vision and less retinopathy of prematurity.
Breastfeeding babies have lower risks of getting Type I and Type II diabetes.
Breastfed babies have faster brain maturation in comparison with babies that are not breastfed.
Breastfed babies have lower risk of getting respiratory diseases.
Babies that are breastfed are less likely to become obese in later childhood.
Breastfeeding is linked to lower risk of getting childhood leukemia.
When breastfed exclusively, babies are at a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Myths and Facts related to Breastfeeding
Myth- There is not enough breast milk for the baby.
Fact- Babies actually require a very small amount of milk. During the first 3-4 days after birth, the mother produces less but enough milk for the need of the baby. The baby’s kidneys are not able to handle larger volumes of fluids in the very beginning. But they do get the fluid which they need the most i.e. colostrum. Therefore, the mother produces as much milk as the baby needs, and it not being enough is a myth.
Myth- Breastfeeding babies should not be given bottles or else they’ll stop feeding.
Fact- This happens quite rarely. While formula milk should be avoided and there is no replacement for breast milk, giving the baby an occasional bottle will not stop them from feeding. However, it is important to cuddle the baby while feeding even with the bottle as it will help the baby bond.
Myth- Mothers should take a rest from breastfeeding to produce more milk.
Fact- This is not true. A demand supply mechanism works in breastfeeding. The body of the mother produces milk as much is required by the child. Therefore, breastfeeding actually increases the milk supply. If the mother takes a rest, then the body will produce lesser volume of milk.
Myth- Breastfeeding prevents you from getting pregnant.
Fact- This is true. While a mother breastfeeds, her body stops producing the hormone which is required for ovulation for at least 6 months, hence no pregnancy.
Myth- A mother shouldn’t breastfeed if she is sick.
Fact- In most kinds of illness, a mother can usually continue to breastfeed the baby. This can actually build the baby’s own defenses when the antibodies made by the mother’s immune system get transferred to her baby through milk.
In a nutshell, the health benefits of breastfeeding are so numerous that it is recommended by every healthcare agency including WHO. As long as the health of the mother allows it, every baby should be breastfed for the well-being of both the mother and the child. If you are unable to breastfeed, you can reach out to us to get your problem diagnosed. We continuously strive to be one of the best maternity hospitals in Chandigarh.
While finding the best mother and child care hospitals in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, you can count on us for getting the best care for you and your baby.