There are few things more exciting than a newborn baby. But what’s important is a healthy baby. There are many ways to keep babies healthy and breastfeeding plays one of the most important roles. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month where the goal is to promote the health and well-being of babies by encouraging breastfeeding.
Part of encouraging breastfeeding is offering the mother proper encouragement. Three keys to this are providing time, space, and family support. While breastfeeding comes naturally for some, it may not for others. It takes patience and time to perfect, which is why paid maternity leave becomes very important. It’s essential for mothers to have areas to breastfeed in private, and spaces where they can rest and be free from interruptions, as family and friends are always eager to greet the mother and new baby.
It’s important that a mother feel supported by her decision to breastfeed. Comfortability will lead to more breastfeeding success in the short and long-term, especially during busy times where a mother may feel like it is not an accessible option.
Finally, breast milk supplies the infant with nutrients made especially for their growth and development. It’s natures perfect food for babies. It’s not only beneficial for the child, but for the mother as well. Per WebMD, the following are the benefits for both mother and child:
- Antibodies in breast milk help fight viruses and bacteria
- Lowers risk of baby having asthma or allergies
- Fewer ear infections, less diarrhea and respiratory illnesses
- Linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood
- Reduced risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Faster weight loss (can burn an extra 500 calories when breastfeeding)
- Lower risks of cancer (breast and ovarian cancer) by about 20%
- Lower risks of osteoporosis
- More bonding through skin to skin contact, which stimulates release of oxytocin (a hormone that facilitates bonding)
As you can see, breastfeeding is important for all involved and there’s a need for its continued support. Not only is it a bonding experience, but it offers an abundance of health benefits. For more tips, such as best positions, additional medical considerations while breastfeeding, or if breastfeeding is a healthy option for you, reach out to your doctor for the best recommendation.