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Promotion of Breastfeeding

Benefits of Breastfeeding
By Melanie Rumbel & Marika Dy
All natural, immunity boosting, and good for both moms and newborns, breastfeeding is something every mother should consider.
First and foremost, breast milk always contains the ideal blend of nutrients for infants.  With a perfect mix of vitamins, proteins, and fat, it is more easily digestible than formula.  Furthermore, the composition of breast milk changes overtime to meet the baby’s needs.  ‘Colostrum’ is pre-milk that comes in right after delivery. It is high in protein and lower in sugar.  A few days later, the full milk that comes in is higher in sugar and volume to meet the demands of the rapidly growing baby.  Unlike breast milk, formula doesn’t adapt.
Speaking of breast milk ingredients, one critical facet of breastfeeding is the transfer of immunity-boosting antibodies.  Such an ingredient strengthens the infant’s underdeveloped and immature immune system[1 ] This yields a slew of advantages, including:
  • Enhanced capability to fight off bacteria, viruses, colds, and the flu[1]
  • Fewer accounts of ear infections, asthma, allergies, respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea[1,2]
  • Reduced instances of long-term illness such as: diabetes, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease[2]
  • Heightened sensitivity to vaccination-derived immunity[2]
  • Lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome[2]
In addition to having healthier babies, breastfeeding mothers experience a number of benefits themselves. Considering physical health, mothers who breastfeed reduce their risk for osteoporosis since the body absorbs calcium more efficiently while lactating.2  Breastfeeding also lowers the risk for ovarian and breast cancer.[1,2] Furthermore, because breastfeeding burns calories, it helps women return to pre-pregnancy weight, and the release of oxytocin induces the contraction of the uterus to revert back to normal size.[2]
Delayed ovulation is another significant bodily change that occurs while breastfeeding.  Women who regularly breastfeed for the first six months may not get their period during this time, due to changes in their hormonal cycle which block ovulation.[2] As a result, this could serve as a means of birth control, since chances of conception decrease.  Women may want to consider this for family planning and spacing out children.
Economically, breastfeeding can save the family lots of money.  The more time spent breastfeeding, the less feeding expenses there are.  Families purchase less bottles, limited formula, and fewer artificial nipples. And because there is no bottle to prepare, breastfeeding saves time.  Milk is always readily available at the perfect temperature, anytime and anywhere.
Lastly, many mothers find breastfeeding empowering.[2]  First, more time is spent with with the baby with skin-to-skin contact.  This helps the baby emotionally, and cultivates a mother’s sensitivity to the needs of her newborn by learning the infant’s mannerisms and cues.  Unlike bottle feeding, a mother is the only one who can breastfeed her baby, making this a great time for bonding.1  Moreover, it is an opportunity to marvel at the fact that a the mother’s breast milk alone allows the infant to grow and thrive.  Such knowledge generates a sense of fulfillment and appreciation for the miracle of life. Breastfeeding mothers in the same community may connect and share these experiences, fostering friendships and support.
Breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months, but even a shorter time can yield many benefits.[1]  By enhancing the health of both infant and mother, breastfeeding helps families flourish.  The short- and long-term benefits prove abundant and vastly rewarding.
References-
[1] https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics#1
[2] https://www.fitpregnancy.com/baby/breastfeeding/20-breastfeeding-benefits-mom-baby