Breast milk is one of nature’s superfoods, designed to provide all the nutrients that the newborn needs during their first months of life. The World Health Organisation recommends that new mothers breastfeed exclusively during the first six months after birth. Though this may not be reasonable or practicable for all new mothers, some studies have shown that clear benefits result from breastfeeding for at least the first thirteen weeks. Eat a nutritious diet to make sure you are getting essential vitamins and minerals and make sure you have some comfortable maternity wear or nursing wear.
· Cancer Prevention. The risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer lowers the longer a mother has breastfed. Also applies to women who were breastfed themselves.
· Emotional Wellbeing. Breastfeeding appears to lower anxiety in women and the incidence of postnatal depression by releasing the “happy” hormone oxytocin into the bloodstream.
· Osteoporosis. Breastfeeding has been found to lower the risk of osteoporosis.
· Diabetic Women. Breastfeeding lowers the amount of insulin required among diabetic women.
· Helps with Weight Loss. While it’s best to focus on keeping healthy and getting plenty of rest after birth, breastfeeding has been strongly linked with weight loss.
Breastfeeding is estimated to burn up to 600 calories per day, or four kilos of fat over twelve months. This can vary between women and some breastfeeding mothers do experience weight gain rather than weight loss. You can also lose pregnancy weight quickly by exercising. Swimming is a great exercise for new mothers, who can find that their maternity swimwear comes in handy.
Your Baby’s Health
· Vaccine Responsiveness. Breastfed infants respond better to vaccines than formula-fed babies, with much higher antibody levels in their bloodstream, leading researchers to believe that breastfeeding boosts immune response.
· Diarrhoea. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from acute diarrhoea during the breastfeeding stage than formula-fed babies.
· Colitis. Breastfeeding dramatically reduces the likelihood of colitis (necrotizing enternal colitis or NEC).
· Ear Infections and Respiratory Infections. The likelihood of recurring ear infections (or otitis media) and respiratory infections are significantly reduced with longer breastfeeding times.
· Herpes II. Breastfeeding has been linked with protecting babies from the Herpes Simplex II virus.
· Bronchitis. Breastfed babies tend to be less likely to develop bronchitis during their first twelve months.
· SIDS. Breastfeeding is thought to protect newborns against SIDS due to its role in the prevention of respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.
· Immune System Development. Breastfed babies tend to develop stronger immune systems.
· Multiple Sclerosis. Preliminary studies have suggested a link between people who were not breastfed as infants and an increased risk of MS.
· Hernia. Breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of developing hernias.
· Allergies and Colds. Breastfed infants are much less likely to develop wheezing, have colds, or suffer any vomiting spells. The likelihood and severity of eczema is also reduced.
· Cognitive Development. Children who were breastfed test higher in IQ and other cognitive development exams. These babies also tend to score higher on social development tests.
· Infant Survival. Infant survival rates are generally higher for breastfed babies.