6 Major Benefits Of Breastfeeding That You Probably Don’t Know About
With Mother’s Day coming up, let’s talk about breastfeeding. According to research done by the World Health Organisation (WHO), breastfeeding can save the lives of over 820 000 children a year. The WHO recommends that moms should exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months.
Globally, 40 percent of infants under six months are exclusively breastfed. In South Africa, these rates are the lowest in the world. Breastmilk is the most natural first food a baby can have. Not only does your baby benefit – moms do too. If you’re not already convinced, here are the facts…
Benefit No. 1: Boost Your Baby
You might not create a superhero, but breastmilk can create a super immune system. It contains antibodies that can help to prevent common illnesses in newborns, including diarrhoea and respiratory infection, such as runny noses and coughing. This miracle formula that your body creates contains all the nutrients your baby requires.
Benefit No. 2: Boobs For Brains
Breastfeeding also contributes to brain development. Certain studies suggest that there’s a link between breastfed babies and a higher IQ level. But it doesn’t stop there: breastfeeding helps contribute to you baby’s health in the future, reducing the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese. The chances of type-II diabetes, asthma and allergies are also decreased.
Benefit No. 3: My Milk Shake Brings…
… All the nutrients to the kid. It’s the perfect combo of proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals. A thicker, more yellow milk is produced after delivery, packed with all the antibodies a newborn requires. Breastmilk can also contain anti-infective properties to prevent infection when your baby is exposed to bacteria and viruses.
Benefit No. 4: Buh-Bye Baby Weight
You may have heard this one before – and our April cover girl swears by it. Breastfeeding can help new moms shed the baby weight and get back in shape. While Lesley-Ann Brandt acknowledges that not everyone is able to breastfeed their baby, she also says that, if you can – do it!
Only six weeks after giving birth, she was back behind the camera (for our cover shoot). And what’s more, she had abs. “I ate clean, but honestly, the biggest thing of all that helped me was breastfeeding,” she says. “It can be terribly uncomfortable in the beginning, but it really is so good for baby and you.” There you have it.
Benefit No. 5: Happy, Healthy Mom
Breastfeeding reduces a mom’s chance of breast and ovarian cancer. That, plus type-II diabetes and postpartum depression. What’s more, it acts as a natural contraceptive to promote child-spacing. Girl, you will need a break. It delays menstruation (yay), but it isn’t foolproof, so don’t throw away the safety net just yet.
Benefit No. 6: Bosom Buddies
There’s no bond like a mother and child bond, and breastfeeding strengthens this bond. The physical closeness during feeding promotes security and attachment. It also causes a hormone called oxytocin to be released in the mother’s brain. This hormone, also know as the ‘cuddle hormone’, increases feelings of love, trust and affection. While breastfeeding, your baby can feel your heartbeat and smell your scent. This has a calming effect, and isn’t the most reassuring place still in your mom’s arms?
Read about how Lesley-Ann Brandt got back into shape so soon after having a baby, here.