Diet & Nutrition
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Diet & Nutrition

8 Benefits Of Breast Feeding And 4 Myths To Debunk!

Hello peeps! This year we have celebrated world breastfeeding week from august 1st to august 7th. It is amazing to know how people come in front and raise awareness of some of the most sensitive and important topics to society. Breastfeeding is believed to benefit infants because breast milk contains the ideal mix of nutrients for infants. Breast milk is a combination of nutrients, and immune-related compounds and promotes development.

What and how the breastfeeding mechanism works?

It is all in the baby’s suction activity. When your baby sucks at the breast, tiny nerves get stimulated to produce two hormones — prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin helps in making the milk while oxytocin is responsible to push down the milk. This is known as a let-down reflex/ response.

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. WHO states that nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months. The rate has not improved in 2 decades. This can be due to inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes continuing to undermine efforts to improve breastfeeding rates and duration worldwide.

Do you know some of the amazing benefits of breastfeeding?

  1. Breastmilk provides ideal nutrition for your infant: It is during the first few days your breasts provide a thick and yellowish fluid called colostrum. It is high in protein, low in sugars, and loaded with beneficial compounds. Colostrum is not bad for the baby, it in fact is very necessary for the baby to improve immunity.

2. Breastmilk is loaded with antibodies: These antibodies help fight off bacteria and viruses which is critical in those early months. Especially colostrum provides high amounts of IgA (Immunoglobin A). This helps in protecting the baby from getting sick by forming a protective layer in the baby’s nose, throat, and digestive system.

3. Exclusive breastfeeding may reduce disease risk: Breastfeeding is linked to reducing the risk of middle ear infections, respiratory tract infections, cold and infections, gut infections, intestinal tissue damage, sudden infant death syndrome, allergic diseases, bowel diseases, diabetes, and childhood leukemia.

4. Breastmilk promotes a baby’s healthy weight: Studies showed that breastfeeding for longer than 4 months had a significant reduction in the chances of a baby developing overweight or obesity. This is mainly due to a baby developing different gut bacteria when breastfeeding and a baby without breastfeeding might develop different gut microbiota.

5. Breastfeeding helps the uterus to contract: During the time of pregnancy, the uterus grows immensely. Women’s bodies secrete high amounts of oxytocin during labor to help deliver the baby. The same hormone also increases during breastfeeding to encourage uterine contractions and reduces bleeding, helping the uterus return to its previous size.

6. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of postpartum depression (PPD): Postpartum depression is a type of depression that can develop shortly after birth. Women who breastfeed are less likely to develop depression compared to mothers who wean early or do not breastfeed.

7. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of diseases for mothers too: It seems to provide long-term protection against cancer and several diseases like high blood pressure, arthritis, high blood fat, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

8. Breastfeeding may prevent menstruation for a while: Continued breastfeeding also pauses ovulation and menstruation to make sure there is some gap between pregnancies and it is one thing less to worry about.

A few myths and facts about breastfeeding and breast milk

Myth 1: You should not breastfeed if you are sick

Fact 1: It totally depends on the kind of illness you are going through. You need to make sure you get the right treatment and rest, eat and drink well. In many cases, the antibodies your body makes to treat disease or illness will pass on to the baby to build his or her own defenses.

Myth 2: Colostrum, thick yellow milk produced right after delivery is bad for the baby and should be thrown out.

Fact 2: Colostrum the first golden milk is good for the baby, It gives newborns an immunity boost while their immune systems are developing to support good lifelong health

Myth 3: You should eat plain food while breastfeeding

Fact 3: Breastfeeding mothers need to eat healthy and balanced foods but not have to change preferences. Babies get used to mother’s food from the time they are in the womb.

Myth 4: You should wash your nipples before breastfeeding

Fact 4: Washing your nipples before breastfeeding is not necessary. when babies are born, they are already familiar with their own mothers smells and sounds. The nipples produce a substance that the baby smells and has good bacteria for healthy immune system for life.

Considering all the above benefits and myths, it is important to continuing breastfeeding for an year so that the babies immunity is grown well. Experts recommend to geta consultation to make sure breastfeeding is not effected by any of these myths that have deteriorated many healthy lives of children. Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ values, physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, eye contact all help your baby bond with you feel secure. 🥰

References:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/breastfeeding#tab=tab_1

https://www.healthline.com/health/breastfeeding/11-benefits-of-breastfeeding

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/breastfeeding-and-bottle-feeding/breastfeeding/benefits/

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Nutritionist Vasundhara Agrawal

Nutritionist Vasundhara Agrawal

Lifestyle Trainer & Nutrition Coach | I help you #livehealthy