Although we live in an era where feminism is at its peak, we can’t argue that women still feel the pressure to be perfect mothers. Women are expected to be mothers and mothers are expected to forget they are women.
Womelennials (women/millennials) have no room for error... With the rise of the organic, vegan and #ImSoHealthyiEatGreenJuiceEveryday lifestyles one can only predict that breastfeeding is back on trend. After all, the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as the American Association of Paediatrics (AAP), recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least to 6 months.
The benefits of breastfeeding on babies are widely known: “It is good for the immune system of your baby”, “breast milk contains enzymes not present in formula”, etc.
Since breastfeeding is so beneficial for babies then why only 17% of women still breastfeed at 3 months in the UK? We are talking about the UK, a country where women have up to one year of maternity leave!!
Here at Dr. Marly Says we thought we would focus on the benefits you are getting for breastfeeding.
1. Weight Loss
Breastfeeding helps you burn on average 525 to 625 kCal per day. A study on more than 20,000 women showed that women who breastfed exclusively for 6 months lost 2 additional kg compared to those who breastfed for a shorter time.
2. Cardiac Disease, Diabetes
Studies have shown that women who breastfeed for at least 6 months have reduced risk of developing metabolic syndrome (a condition that is a combination of diabetes or pre-diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases).
Results have been variable regarding the correlation between breastfeeding and the decreased risk of cancers (breast and ovarian).
4. Stress Reduction
This is a controversial one. Studies have shown that women who breastfeed have lowered stress hormones (e.g. cortisol).
Our personal opinion is that this is an individual thing. If breastfeeding is something you are not comfortable with, then we assume your stress levels will be raised.
5. Bonding with the child
Probably one of the most known benefit…
When women breastfeed (not pump!), they release a hormone called oxytocin (a.k.a the cuddle hormone) which increases bonding. This hormone is also released when you kiss or hug someone.
6. Cost Benefits
Breastfeeding is cost saving as you do not have to buy bottles, formula milk, steriliser…
Let’s simplify it for you: breastfeeding has a contraceptive effect only if the 3 following rules apply:
You are exclusively breastfeeding- and by that we mean, your baby is not receiving any other sources of milk
Your baby is 6 months old or younger
You did not have your period since you delivered (this is a sign that your hormones regulating ovulation have suppressed because you are breastfeeding)
Now that you have read the 7 benefits of breastfeeding, tell us, are you more incentivised to do so?
1.http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/ retrieved on July 31st 2017
2.https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/aap-reaffirms-breastfeeding-guidelines.aspx retrieved on July 31st 2017
3.http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/benefits-breastfeeding.aspx retrieved on August 3rd 2017
4.https://www.gov.uk/employers-maternity-pay-leave/entitlement retrieved on August 3rd 2017
5.MARTIE HASELTON JH-H. Breastfeeding and Maternal Mental and Physical Health. In: Reproductive Health. 2012. (c17).
6.Unar-Munguía M, Torres-Mejía G, Colchero MA, González de Cosío T. Breastfeeding Mode and Risk of Breast Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. J Hum Lact Off J Int Lact Consult Assoc. 2017 May;33(2):422–34.
7.Light KC, Smith TE, Johns JM, Brownley KA, Hofheimer JA, Amico JA. Oxytocin responsivity in mothers of infants: a preliminary study of relationships with blood pressure during laboratory stress and normal ambulatory activity. Health Psychol Off J Div Health Psychol Am Psychol Assoc. 2000 Nov;19(6):560–7.
8.King J. Contraception and lactation. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2007 Dec;52(6):614–20.