Breastfeeding is feeding a baby breast milk, usually straight from the breast or by using clean bottles or spoons.
Breastfeeding poses some health benefits to both mother and child with some huge benefits, and it is usually recommended by doctors. It is a personal decision whether to breastfeed or not. However, there may be some medical or health conditions that may make breastfeeding difficult.
The WHO recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (this means no additional water, formula, herbal concoctions, or juices) and may continue breastfeeding even after introducing other feeds for the 1st year of life.
Health benefits of breastfeeding to the mother
Beyond just feeling good, breastfeeding has health benefits for moms.
- Breastfeeding mothers tend to heal a lot faster and easily after delivery as it causes the increased production of the hormone oxytocin to be released, which helps the uterus return to its normal size more rapidly and can reduce postpartum bleeding.
- When you breastfeed, it helps to burn additional calories, hastening your weight loss after pregnancy.
- Breast and ovarian cancer risks are also reduced by breastfeeding.
- It helps reduce the risk of developing Osteoporosis (weakening of bones).
- Additionally, it helps to improve bonding between a new mum and her infant, especially first-time moms
Health benefits of breastfeeding to the baby
Your baby’s health is maintained through breastmilk.
- It provides all the nutrients required for growth and development in the right amounts.
- It offers defense against illnesses, obesity, and allergies by building the baby’s immune system
- Some Infections like ear infections can be prevented by it.
- It helps prevent constipation, diarrhea, or stomachaches because it digests easily.
- As they develop, babies’ weights get healthier.
- Infants who are breastfed are found to have a higher IQ score
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Health conditions that can prevent a mother from breastfeeding
Though the process of breastfeeding is straightforward for most mothers, it is not the same for others. There are certain underlying medical conditions that make it difficult to breastfeed, such as;
- HIV Infection (seek counsel from your doctor)
- Active Herpes
The good news is that we have an Ante-natal care group at Reliance Health for the purpose of providing the needed support for pregnant and nursing mothers in real-time. Click the button below to join.
How to take care of yourself while breastfeeding
- What you eat: You should have a well-balanced diet when nursing to stay healthy.
- Stay hydrated: You must consume enough fluids to be hydrated and healthy. Most professionals advise consuming enough liquids to quench thirst, especially water
- Mental Health: There can be many unexpected emotions, caused by hormonal changes, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and worry. It is advised to pay attention to your mental health after childbirth.
- Take Time to Relax: It might be difficult to keep up with your everyday tasks, and it gets worse when you are tired. Getting adequate sleep might not be simple, but you can try.
Did you know that there are substitutes to breastmilk that can give similar nutritional values? Click here to join the antenatal group at Reliance health to get recommendations