Benefits of Breastfeeding

As more and more women assume powerful positions in various fields, more and more of their time to be spent supposedly at home is taken up. Working mothers who, after two months of maternity leave, resort to bottle-feeding their babies. But, medical practitioners believe that "breast milk is still best for babies".

Weight-loss

A lot of breastfeeding women claim to lose their baby-weight faster than others who don’t. Studies show that breastfeeding mothers can lose up to 0.8kg per month in the first 4 to 6 months, as reported by The Subcommittee on Nutrition During Lactation*.

It is recommended by medical associations and governments. Who would know better what’s best for your child (about health and nutrition that is) other than your pediatrician? Doctors and medical societies all over the world recommend breastfeeding and are finding more and more reasons why breast milk is more beneficial to your child than formulated milk.

Relaxation

Sure breastfeeding can be tiring especially on the arms. But it can make a mother feel more calm and relax, and that it’s not from all that sitting and lying down.

Researches show that certain brain chemicals are released during breastfeeding that calms and relaxes a breastfeeding mother as written in "The Relationship between Infant Feeding Method and Maternal Role Adjustment" saying "during the breastfeeding process your brain will manufacture chemicals that will calm you, give you a feeling of well-being and promote maternal behavior.

Your baby’s sucking stimulates nerve endings in the areolae, which send messages to your hypothalamus and pituitary gland (in your brain, causing them to start releasing oxytocin and prolactin, breastfeeding hormones that will begin to calm and relax you."

Smarter Babies

30 years ago, Researchers from Christchurch School of Medicine in New Zealand , did a case study on more than 1000 infants born between April – August 1977, which yielded results showing that breastfed children performed better in school than bottled bottle-fed children.

The study also showed that the longer an infant was breastfed, the higher he/she scored in school certificate exams. (for the complete articles, see: Breast-fed Make Batter Grades, Reuters News Agency, January 5, 1998; Breastfeeding and Later Cognitive Academic Outcomes, Pediatrics Vol.101 No. Electronic Article)

Protection from several diseases

Some studies show that human milk influences and stimulates the immune system of infants, and enhances vaccine response, thus making them more resistant to several diseases such as:

  • ear infections
  • multiple sclerosis
  • prevent leukemia
  • allergies
  • diarrhea
  • Influenza
  • and are less likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

When to stop breastfeeding?

According to pediatricians, there is no specific time to stop breastfeeding. It is even recommended to continue breastfeeding a child until he/she is about 2-3 years old. However, Pediatric Associations advise that all infants be breastfed up to at least 6 months.

Breastfeeding and working moms

Going back to work these days doesn’t mean that you have to stop breastfeeding your baby. A lot of mothers are able to squeeze in breastfeeding their children while at work. For most, breastfeeding is a simple as another item on their schedule. Most of them resort to using pumps, which come in both manual and electric. Others use hand expression. Mothers use pumps or hand expression to squeeze out milk that they can store in the fridge and then retrieve when their babies need to be fed.

Breastfeeding at work is no longer a problem, as more and more companies are putting up onsite daycare centers to accommodate working moms. Caregivers usually just call the mothers when it is time to feed their babies, or they can feed on the stored milk of their mothers. Back at home, mothers simply go back to regular breastfeeding.