Doctor's Plaza Health Magazine - - Doctor's Pick - Dr.pius D.muzazzi Md,mmed Pae­di­atrics and Child Health Pae­di­a­tri­cian, Lec­turer

Why is breast­feed­ing im­por­tant for you and your baby?

Breast­feed­ing has long-term ben­e­fits for your baby, last­ing right into adult­hood. Any amount of breast milk has a pos­i­tive ef­fect. The longer you breast­feed, the longer the pro­tec­tion lasts and the greater the ben­e­fits. Breast­feed­ing also has health ben­e­fits for you. The more you breast­feed, the greater the ben­e­fits.

Breast milk is best for your baby, and the ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing ex­tend well be­yond ba­sic nutri­tion. In ad­di­tion to con­tain­ing all the vi­ta­mins and nu­tri­ents your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with dis­ease-fight­ing sub­stances that pro­tect your baby from ill­ness.

Here is a list of se­lected seven (7) most im­por­tant ben­e­fits that breast­feed­ing of­fers to the mother and the baby:

1. Breast­feed­ing keeps your baby healthy

Re­search shows that the in­ci­dences of dis­eases like of pneu­mo­nia, colds and viruses are re­duced among breast­fed ba­bies (Breast­feed­ing: A Guide for the Med­i­cal Pro­fes­sion). Other dis­eases in­clude gas­troin­testi­nal in­fec­tions like di­ar­rhea and ear in­fec­tions. It is also said to pro­tect ba­bies against a num­ber of al­ler­gies.

2. Stronger mother’s bones

Nutri­tion­ist ex­pert Ruth Lawrence re­ports that women who breast­feed have a lower risk of post­menopausal os­teo­poro­sis. When a woman is preg­nant and lac­tat­ing, her body ab­sorbs cal­cium much more ef­fi­ciently, hence mak­ing her bones strong.

3. Fewer prob­lems with weight

Breast­feed­ing can help con­trol both mother’s and baby’s weight. Breast­feed­ing is said to burn mother’s calo­ries. Ac­cord­ing to Ruth Lawrence, breast milk con­tains 20 calo­ries per 30ml of milk, there­fore if you feed your baby 600mls a day, that will be equal to about 400 calo­ries lost from your body.

4. Helps the mother to heal af­ter de­liv­ery

Breast­feed­ing makes the mother pro­duce the hor­mone called oxy­tocin. This hor­mone helps the uterus con­tract re­duc­ing the like­li­hood of bleed­ing. It also helps the uterus go back to its nor­mal size ear­lier com­pared to the moth­ers who do not breast­feed.

5. Less risk of cancer

Breast­feed­ing can de­crease your baby’s risk of some child­hood can­cers. It also pro­tects the mother from breast and ovar­ian cancer.

6. A break from men­stru­a­tion cy­cle

Con­tin­u­ous breast­feed­ing with­out giv­ing the baby for­mula will de­lay ovu­la­tion and hence de­lay men­stru­a­tion. This is aided by pro­lactin hor­mone which sup­presses the hormones that are re­spon­si­ble for men­stru­a­tion cy­cle. This fact makes breast­feed­ing to be 98 per­cent to 99 per­cent ef­fec­tive as a post­baby birth con­trol op­tion.

7. Bond­ing

The close­ness and com­fort of breast­feed­ing helps cul­ti­vate the bond be­tween the mother and the baby hence a lov­ing re­la­tion­ship. Dads and moms can’t spoil the baby, so give your baby all the cud­dling she or he wants. Breast­feed­ing starts nat­u­rally, how­ever learn­ing to breast­feed can take a bit of time and needs pa­tience. For more in­for­ma­tion about breast­feed­ing please con­sult your baby’s Pae­di­a­tri­cian

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