For centuries, women have nourished their babies by breastfeeding to ensure child health as breast milk provides unsurpassed nutrition for babies. The World Health Organization recommends mothers to exclusively breastfeed infants for six months and continuing for two years or longer even after whole foods are introduced.
If you are a breastfeeding mother or expecting, here are some fascinating facts about breastfeeding that you need to know!
- Newborns recognises the smell of their mom’s milk
We’re aware that the smell of their mothers itself will be calming for babies but how are they able to recognise their mother’s milk? Well, research suggests that newborns are guided to their food supply by their noses, so babies are able to sniff and recognise their mother’s milk. Babies can also differentiate between formula, their mother’s own milk, and another mother’s breast milk. When babies are able to learn their mother’s smell at an early stage, that will surely build a stronger bond between mothers and their babies along the way!
- Breastfeeding reduces risk of breast cancer
“Is there a risk of breast cancer if I breastfeed my baby?”
A research study by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer states that for every 12 months a woman breastfeeds, her risk of breast cancer decreases by 4.3%. So the longer a mother breastfeeds, the higher she is protected from risk against breast cancer. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, mothers shed breast tissues which help to remove all potential DNA damages and reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. However, most women (usually working mothers) in many developed countries have a shorter duration of breastfeeding and so they make a larger contribution to the prevalence of breast cancer.
- Getting cramps while breastfeeding
Yes, it’s normal to get cramps while nursing your baby. It is completely common to feel intense, menstrual-like cramps in the uterus while you’re breastfeeding. When your baby latches on, your brain releases the oxytocin hormone (also known as the love hormone) which allows your baby to get breast milk from your breasts and helps the uterus to contract back quickly to its pre-pregnancy shape and size.
In the first few days of childbirth, the after-pains can be intense but there are ways to ease the cramps while breastfeeding. Mothers can relieve the nursing cramps by sitting up ‘pretzel style’ with legs folded in front instead of laying down flat on their back. This will help to bring the uterus forward and relieve the pressure. But if the pain exacerbates, mothers should consult their doctor and get a prescribed pain medication.
- Breastfeeding resets your metabolism and reduces risk of weight gain
Did you know that breastfeeding can help mothers burn up to 500 calories a day? Undeniably, a mother’s body changes drastically in order to support different stages of pregnancy and weight gain is the most common one. Many new mothers would quickly want to reset their body to the ideal, perfect pre-pregnancy figure. Not to worry momma, breastfeeding is the answer.
The body works to produce a continuous supply of breast milk and will not store as many calories as it’s being transferred to the child. Although nursing can make your metabolism more efficient, it promotes weight loss only if the number of calories consumed is within the check. If mothers overeat and expect weight loss through breastfeeding, it’s not going to work.
A proper diet, exercise, and breastfeeding would be the key to experiencing major results.
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