Breastfeeding is the term that is often used to describe what happens when your baby suckles milk at your breast.
In other words, breastfeeding (or full breastfeeding) is when your baby feeds directly from your breast and doesn’t require any supplemental formula or milk for the first six months.
Many moms have a feeling of satisfaction and joyousness while breastfeeding their baby. These feelings are supplemental to the release of prolactin and oxytocin hormones.
The prolactin hormone produces a peaceful, nurturing sensation that relaxes the mother and allows her to focus on her baby. In contrast, the oxytocin hormone promotes a strong sense of love and closeness between the mother and child.
However, some babies might be unable to suckle breast milk. Also, some mothers might not be able to help their babies latch to their breasts directly because of some challenges that may arise from emotional, physical, and mental health issues affecting the mother or baby, as well as cultural or other reasons.
Besides, a lot of moms wonder if their baby is feeding well and getting enough, particularly in the first few days. Do not worry! Sooner or later, you’ll discover that breastfeeding is one of the most satisfying ways to feed your baby once you’ve mastered it.
In addition to the suitability of breastfeeding your baby, breast milk contains minerals and vitamins. It is also readily available. Breastfeeding also helps protect you from certain infections.
Health benefits of Breastfeeding
It has been revealed that breastfeeding gives many health benefits to babies and mothers. Also, suckling and early skin-to-skin contact between a child and mother may have emotional and physical benefits. Below are some of the health benefits of breastfeeding a baby;
- Less retinopathy of prematurity and better vision
- Lower rates of infant mortality
- Stronger immune system
- Fewer ear infections, particularly those that damage hearing
- Less illness and less hospitalisation
- Lowers the rate of sudden infant death syndrome
- Fewer respiratory illnesses and colds such as whooping cough, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and pneumonia
- Fewer cases of bacterial meningitis
- Less constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, preterm necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), and diarrhoea
As mothers are breastfeeding their babies, they also benefit because it will make them healthier. Some of the health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers are;
- Energises the uterus to contract and return to standard size
- More positive mood and less risk of postpartum depression
- Fewer urinary tract infections
- Less postpartum bleeding
- Promotes faster weight loss after delivery, and maintains milk supply
- Less chance of anaemia
In conclusion, breast milk reduces the risk of leukaemia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and juvenile-onset diabetes (childhood diabetes).
If you have any breastfeeding concerns or worries, book an appointment and speak with a healthcare specialist.