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What is breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is a way of feeding an infant with human breast milk. Breastfeeding is really beneficial for babies and mothers.
So to promote the benefits of breastfeeding and strengthen all nursing mothers World Breastfeeding Week is observed on 1st to 7th August every year. This is a tradition that dates back to the 1990s.
Things to consider before opting for breastfeeding
Since nothing comes without a cost, breastfeeding has its own. All mothers who are planning to opt for breastfeeding should consider the following things before they make a final choice:
1. Lack of comfort and flexibility
Discomfort and pain are a part of the breastfeeding journey especially the initial days. Flexibility is another major concern for new moms because they are bound to their infant’s feeding schedule. Most of them find it difficult to run errands or do basic daily chores while breastfeeding.
2. Restrictions in diet
Breastfeeding mothers are restricted to eat healthy food, take supplements, and avoid alcohol at all costs. Because everything that they eat is passed on to their infants through milk.
3. Inability to measure milk
There is no way to measure how much milk you’re producing and how much your baby is consuming unless you start pumping and collecting the milk in bottles. The only thing that you can rely on to know if your baby is eating enough is; the number of wet diapers in a day.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is equally beneficial for babies and mothers.
Benefits of breastfeeding for babies
Following are a few benefits of breastfeeding for babies:
● Ideal nutrition:
Breast milk is the best food for infants. It contains every nutrition and antibody that a baby needs. Healthcare professionals all over the world recommend exclusive breastfeeding until the baby is at least six months old.
● Better immunity:
Breast milk is packed with Immunoglobulins or antibodies, which help strengthen an infant’s immune system.
Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of developing ear infections, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, bowel diseases, diabetes, diarrhea, allergies, pneumonia, eczema, lymphoma, respiratory tract infections, intestinal tissue damage, and childhood leukemia.
● Healthy weight gain:
Breastfeeding prevents childhood obesity and promotes healthy weight gain in babies. It may be because breastfed babies have beneficial gut bacteria in higher amounts when compared to formula-fed babies. Another factor is the presence of leptin hormone in breastfed babies which helps regulate fat storage and appetite.
● Higher IQ level:
The fatty acids present in breastmilk are considered to be brain boosters, as a result, breastfed babies are smarter. Some studies believe that breastfed babies may have higher IQ levels later in life.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers
Following are a few benefits of breastfeeding for mothers:
● Speedy recovery:
When a woman is pregnant her uterus expands from the size of a pear to a mini watermelon. Oxytocin is a hormone produced while breastfeeding, this hormone induces contractions in the uterus, reduces bleeding, and helps the uterus in recovering and returning to its actual size.
● Reduction in weight:
Breastfeeding helps new mothers in losing weight because it burns calories. Usually, no significant difference can be seen in the first three months but after that fat burning process speeds up. Lactating mothers need more calories, so make sure that you are eating according to your body’s requirements otherwise there is a chance that your milk supply will go down.
● Lowers the risk of postpartum depression:
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that develops shortly after childbirth. Women who breastfeed are less likely to develop it. However, mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression don’t find breastfeeding easy. It is essential to let your doctor know if you are suffering from postpartum depression.
● Lowers risks of life threatening diseases:
Breastfeeding protects mothers against deadly diseases like:
- breast cancer
- ovarian cancer
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
● Breastfeeding can help in birth control:
Breastfeeding helps mothers in preventing pregnancy. However, if you are not exclusively breastfeeding your baby and are using other things to feed your baby side by side, then there is a very high chance that breastfeeding will fail as birth control.
When should a mother see a lactation consultant?
Lactation consultants are doctors that help mothers in their breastfeeding journey. Usually, these consultants visit mothers during their stay in the hospital and offer guidance.
After leaving the hospital mothers can still see lactation consultants if they have questions or they need additional training. Since breastfeeding is a learned skill, mothers shouldn’t feel ashamed in asking for help.
You can get in touch with an expert Pediatrician in Lahore, Karachi, or Islamabad to learn more about how breastfeeding can benefit your baby. You can go to oladoc.com or call 04238900939 to book your appointments.