There is a growing trend globally among many young mothers to sustain their physical looks. They are adopting measures to keep themselves youthful and attractive. Sadly, one of such measures is preventing their babies from sucking at their breasts immediately after child birth in the illusory belief that availing their children the liberty to suck at their breasts would cause them to sag prematurely and rob them of their elegant physiques they erroneously think keeping their breasts erect would enhance. Therefore, they selfishly resort to feeding their babies with formula milk. It is highly pitiable that they do not know the health benefits they are denying their babies and themselves from enjoying.
This category of women would probably would have had a rethink if only they knew very well that there is no better alternative to breast feeding as it is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that colostrums, the yellowish sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy is the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.
The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly recommends that exclusive breastfeeding (feeding without combining it with any other liquid or solid) be administered to infants for 6 months, after which it is complemented with appropriate foods for up to two years of age or beyond.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES THE BABY STAND TO BENEFIT FROM BREASTFEEDING?
It is indubitable that babies have numerous benefits to gain from breastfeeding.
1.It has been scientifically proven that breast milk contains vitamins, protein and fat needed for a baby to grow, and it also contains antibodies that help attack and expel viruses and bacteria from their bodies. Similarly, researchers agree that breastfeeding minimizes a baby’s chances of having asthma and allergies. Therefore, they are seldom hospitalized, and with fewer visits to the doctor.
2. The American Academy of Pediatricians has posited that breastfeeding plays vital role in the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
3.Based on the theory that mothers are able to act in tune with the signals that their baby is full and do not overfeed, breastfeeding has been thought and believed to lower the risk of obesity and diabetes as such children are more likely to gain the right weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.
4. Though no conclusion has been drawn, some studies are positing that breastfeeding is linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood. The fatty acids in breast milk are thought to be brain boosters.
5. Physical closeness, skin-to-skin- touching, and eye contact experienced during breastfeeding helps the baby to bond with its mother and feel secure. This also enhances better relationship between the baby and the mother as it grows up.
DOES THE MOTHER HAVE ANYTHING TO GAIN AT ALL FROM BREASTFEEDING HER BABY?
6. The extra calories burnt during breastfeeding help the mother lose pregnancy weight faster. The hormone oxytocin released during breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after child birth.
7. Breast feeding lowers risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may also lower the risk of osteoporosis too.
8. Mother’s time and money is saved during breastfeeding as she does not have to buy and measure formula, sterilize nipples or warm bottles. Breast feeding therefore avail mother ample and regular time to relax quietly as they bond.
9. Breast feeding delays menstruation and consequently, delays ovulation. Experts in nutrition have said that breastfeeding causes the release of prolactin, which keeps estrogen and progesterone at bay so ovulation is not triggered. This delay in ovulation creates ample time for mother to recover fully from pregnancy and delivery stress. Also, unwanted premature pregnancy immediately after child birth is averted.
It is apparent however that whatever the angle anyone would want to view it from, breastfeeding the baby has benefits both for the mother and the baby. It is therefore selfish and foolhardy for any mother to deny her baby of breastfeeding on grounds of preventing her breasts from sagging prematurely or for any other reason.