A mother’s milk is the perfect nutrition for babies. It’s full of antibodies that can help babies fight off viruses and bacteria by forming a protective layer in the baby’s nose, throat, and digestive system.
The ideal first milk, colostrum, helps the newborn’s immature digestive tract to develop. After the first few days, the baby’s stomach grows while the breast starts producing larger amounts of milk.
Breastfeeding is strongly recommended (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. And breastfeeding for a year at least with other foods that should be started at 6 months of age, such as vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins.
Aside from providing nutrition and protection for babies, breastfeeding is also beneficial for mothers.
Breastfeeding And Lowering Women’s Risk Of Heart Diseases
In a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Athens, results showed that breastfeeding can help lower down a mother’s risk of heart diseases.
In the study, 283 post-menopausal women were involved and their heart and blood vessel health were compared to their breastfeeding history. Factors such as cholesterol levels, age, weight, and smoking status were then adjusted and based on the data gathered, women who breastfed have less stiffness in their arteries, thus lowering the risk of heart diseases. According to the researchers, the results were mainly attributed to the high levels of prolactin of breastfeeding mothers. Prolactin is a hormone that can help reduce the risk of diabetes, which is another major heart disease risk factor.
Furthermore, a separate study also has shown the same results. In this study involving 300,00 Chinese women, experts have found that a 10% lowered risk of heart disease can be experienced by breasted moms with an 18% reduction in their heart disease risk for those who breastfed for at least 2 years.
On the other hand, in a study conducted by experts from the University of Pittsburg, results demonstrated that women who did not breastfeed have higher chances of having heart diseases.
Other Good Reasons To Breastfeed Babies
- Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mothers beyond emotional satisfaction.
- Some studies have shown that breastfeeding can help reduce women’s rate of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.
- Result of several studies also revealed that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Breastfeeding helps a mother lose weight. Beginning around 3–6 months after delivery, mothers who breastfeed have been shown to lose more weight than mothers who don’t breastfeed.
- Breastfeeding increases oxytocin levels in the body. This encourages uterine contractions and reduces bleeding, helping the uterus return to its previous size
- Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of depression