Understanding why breast milk is still the best
By Mpho Raphata
When a baby is born it can be one of the most special times for a mother. It is one of the times where as a woman you understand what the term unconditional love means. All you want to do is give your bundle of joy all your love.
One of the most natural ways to bond with your baby is through breast feeding. Research has shown that breastfeeding helps mothers bond with their babies due to a massive rush of the oxytocin ‘love hormone’.
A study in the United States has discovered that the action of a baby suckling actually changes how the mother’s brain behaves.
It is understood that the release of oxytocin in massive surges enhances a mother’s feelings of trust, love and affection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a baby must breastfeed for the first six months, with no other food or liquid being given to the baby.
After six months, women should still continue breastfeeding until the baby turns one. They can even continue until the baby is two.
According to Statistics SA, 39% of babies younger than six months are now exclusively breastfed.
Here are some interesting facts about breastfeeding
- Moms can still breastfeed while sick. In fact, it’s good for your baby. When you get sick, your body starts fighting the illness by making antibodies, which then get passed on to your baby. By the time you show symptoms of illness, guess what? Your baby has already been exposed to the virus or bacteria, which boosts your baby’s immune system. By continuing to breastfeed, you’re not just keeping your milk supply up, but you’re further protecting your baby from getting sick in the future.
- Breastfeeding reduces mama’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The longer she breastfeeds, the higher the benefit. In fact, a woman who breastfeeds for 8 years has nearly a 0% risk of breast cancer
- Promotes postpartum weight loss. Breastfeeding mothers showed significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and more fat loss by one month postpartum when compared with formula-feeding moms. Breastfeeding mothers tend to have an earlier return to their pre-pregnant weight.
- The physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure.Benefits for the baby :
- Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies.
- Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.
- Breastmilk tastes like cow’s milk but is nuttier, sweeter and almost vanilla-like. Hindmilk (at the end of a nursing session) is creamier, thicker and more like condensed milk.
- Breastfed babies have a lower risk of obesity and Types 1 and 2 diabetes.It is clear that there are many benefits linked to breast feeding, it is also evident that South Africa has a long way to go in terms of breastfeeding.
I hope this week does not go past have not made any impact on you and I, but that this year things are done differently so that baby and mom reap the full benefits of breastfeeding.Follow @raphata on twitter