As an expectant mother, you've probably heard a lot about breastfeeding. You have people telling you to try it and others telling you not to. Well, the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week (created by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action), and the month of August is National Breastfeeding Month (created by the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee-USBC). It's important to understand why both of these events are worth celebrating.
Many people believe that breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong good health for babies and mothers. For 2018, the theme of World Breastfeeding Week was Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life. The purpose of this is to highlight that breastfeeding is a universal solution that levels the playing field, giving everyone a fair start in life and a foundation of lifelong good health.
Breastfeeding is an amazing thing, and here are just some of the main benefits of breastfeeding.
According to infant-nutrition expert Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D., women who breastfeed have a lower risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis. When women are pregnant and lactating, the body absorbs calcium much more efficiently. Bones in the hips and spine may be less dense at weaning, but six months later, they are denser than before pregnancy.
Breastfeeding and using a breast pump can actually help you burn calories. Breast milk contains 20 calories per ounce, so if you feed your baby 20 ounces a day, that's 400 calories leaving your body.
Breastfeeding can decrease your baby's risk of some childhood cancers. You will also have a lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer, which is a very deadly disease on the rise right now.
Incidences of colds, pneumonia, and viruses get reduced significantly among breastfed babies. Gastrointestinal infections like diarrhea are also much less common in babies who are breastfed. Breastfeeding will also promote a healthy immune system throughout your child's life.
As an expectant mother, it's important that you understand these benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby. You should also do some research so you can completely understand and anticipate what breastfeeding will be like, but also understand that every breastfeeding experience is different. For example, 28.6% of survey respondents expressed breast milk five to 15 times a week in 2015. Your breastfeeding journey belongs to you, and you're worth celebrating. Happy National Breastfeeding Month and we hope you had a great World Breastfeeding Week.