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The benefits of breastfeeding: positive for mother and child
The month of August marks Breastfeeding Awareness Month, a campaign funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which hopes to empower women to commit to breastfeeding. It is important to know the benefits.
Up to 6 months of life, it is ideal for a baby to be fed only with breast milk, avoiding any other type of liquid. It is clear that if it is not enough, a supplement with formula can be used for feeding, but it is indicated only in case it is necessary. After that, experts recommend continued breastfeeding up to two years of age.
In addition to strengthening the mother-child bond, skin-to-skin contact is key to their growth. Colostrum, the mother’s first milk, is a superfood for newborns because it protects them from the most common infections.
Breast milk is safer and more hygienic; it is the most adapted to the infant’s digestion and is always at the ideal temperature. And it saves lives by protecting babies from life-threatening infections and illnesses.
It has been proven that babies who have been breastfed suffer less from infectious diseases and are less likely to suffer from several illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer in adulthood.
Breastfeeding has always been seen as a benefit for the baby. But breastfeeding is also recommended for the mother. It protects women from breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, anemia, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, and it also helps to regain pre-pregnancy weight.
It is important to create a calm environment for breastfeeding. The rest of the family should help create the atmosphere and collaborate with household chores, such as caring for the other children.
A balanced diet is also crucial because breast milk is produced from the mammary glands. These glands make use of available resources in the form of nutrients from your diet and your body’s nutrient reserves. If your diet contains insufficient calories or nutrients to nourish both mother and infant fully, the mammary glands will be the first to use the nutrients available in the body to produce highly nutritious breast milk. The mother is left with the leftovers, which is unlikely to affect the infant but likely puts the mother at nutritional risk.
Most medicines are safe to take while breastfeeding, but some can be harmful to the baby. These are not always the same that are dangerous for pregnant women. So be sure to get approval from your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician. You should not be allowed to take excessive alcohol or any recreational drug or medication that your pediatrician has not approved, as enough of these could be passed to the baby and cause serious harm.
Don’t worry if you don’t have enough milk; not all mothers do. However, many professionals are willing to advise you, and together, they will find the best way to feed your baby so that it grows strong and healthy.
You can also find more trusted local services in your community at http://boyleheightsresources.org/ or download the Boyle Heights Resources app.