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Fadeyi Oluwaseun
Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho
B.tech Marketing Management
Graduate, Nigeria.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. Being a mother is usually a very challenging time for most people, and it comes with a truckload of responsibility. Some women may consider motherhood as the most important role they would ever hold in their lifetime. It is therefore essential for mothers to get all the information and tools needed to ensure that both the baby and themselves are in optimal health.

One of such practices shown to promote optimal health in both mother and baby is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been extensively researched by numerous medical authorities and the health benefits are endless; both to the infant and to the mother as well. The World Health Organization recommends that nursing mothers should breastfeed exclusively during the first six months of a child’s life, after which you may add in complementary nutrition while still breastfeeding for up to 2 years or more. According to the WHO, there is well-established evidence on cognitive and health benefits associated with breastfeeding as well as significant risks of not breastfeeding.

For this reason, WHO is working with UNICEF and other partners to promote the importance of family-friendly policies to enable breastfeeding and help parents nurture and bond with their children in early life, when it matters most. This includes extended paid maternity leave for 4-5 months at the least to enable successful breastfeeding for up to 6 months as advised by WHO. In addition, paid paternity to encourage bonding between fathers and babies. Mothers also need to have a workplace that is conducive to continue breastfeeding upon return to work by having access to breastfeeding break as well as a clean, safe place for expressing breast milk.Mothers should also remember that breastfeeding is just as beneficial to the mother as it is to the children. Here are a few breastfeeding benefits for the mother.

Bond like no other
Breastfeeding creates a special bond like no other between the mother and child. It is such an intimate act and this skin to skin contact is so important to the newborns. It allows the baby to become more familiar with the mother’s touch and the heartbeat. It also helps babies feel more secure and comforted. The oxytocin released during breastfeeding promotes enhanced love and affection, trust and confidence between mother and baby. It also elevates the mother’s mood and wards off postpartum depression. Therefore, breastfeeding is a way a mother can build a loving and nurturing relationship with their child.

Cheap and Convenient
Imagine it’s the middle of the night and your baby is hungry and crying. What could be easier than just whipping out one breast and satisfying your baby? You don’t have to stand up from bed to warm the baby food to the right temperature because breastmilk is always at the right temperature, you wouldn’t have to buy or wash or sterilize any bottles. Formula and feeding supplies are expensive and breastfeeding eliminates that huge dent in your finances because Breastmilk is Free!

Reduces cancer risk
There is conclusive evidence that breastfeeding an infant for more than 18 months reduces the risk of a woman developing ovarian cancer by as much as 50%! Breastfeeding can also decrease a woman’s breast cancer risk especially if it is done for more than a year. This is because prolonged periods of breastfeeding reduces a woman’s lifetime exposure to estrogen, the hormone that is the main component that promotes breast and ovarian cancer cell growth.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Just as with the baby, breastfeeding helps women to maintain a healthy weight. Breastfeeding mums may burn an additional 1000 calories or more a day depending on how frequently you breastfeed. Naturally, women who are breastfeeding would make healthier food choices to avoid giving the baby too much junk and this would translate into a quicker weight loss for the mother because you are eating nourishing, healthy foods. Generally, women who breastfeed tend to return back to their pre-baby weight faster than those who do not breastfeed.

Post Delivery healing
Oxytocin released during breastfeeding is also responsible for uterine contractions. This means that there is reduced blood loss post delivery and it helps the uterus heal quicker and return to normal size more quickly; six weeks as opposed to 10 weeks if you don’t breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is of optimum importance for healthy growth and development and long term health of the child and it is very important to encourage this all across the nation. Breastfeeding your infant is one of the measures to protect your child’s health. Breastfeeding children now is a great way to invest in a healthier future generation; an added bonus is all the advantageous benefits available to the mother as well, which are just as important. When it comes to breastfeeding, you can never go wrong for the mother and baby!

Disclaimer: The medical information provided on here by Dr. Nini Iyizoba is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment

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