For all of you Mamas or Mamas-to-be out there, its World Breastfeeding Week (who knew there were weeks for these types of things?!)!
Here are some of the most amazing health benefits of breastfeeding for both Mom and Baby:
- To date, scientists have identified over 200 nutritional components in breastmilk, and each plays a role not only in the baby's nutrition, but also in general development and growth as well as the development of the immune and nervous systems. And there is still a lot we have yet to discover!
- Research shows that breastmilk contains vital antibodies which protect against infection, including gastroenteritis, respiratory illness, urinary infections, and even ear infections.
- The composition of breastmilk is perfectly formulated to meet your baby's needs, and actually changes over time as your baby grows to provide the most customized nutrition available.
- Vitamins and minerals in breastmilk are the most easily absorbed and digested of all nutrients on the planet
- As babies are not born with mature digestion, some of the components of breastmilk are actually self-digesting, allowing the baby to benefit, without taxing a new and immature system.
- Breastfeeding mothers have a reduced risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and fractures from osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding women find it easier, and faster to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight
- Exclusive breastfeeding, under certain conditions, is a very reliable form of birth control. It is 98-99% effective (similar to oral contraceptives), natural, and totally free. This is the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM).
- The risk of post-partum haemorrhage is less if a woman breastfeeds.
- A woman suffering from Gestational Diabetes has less risk of developing type-2 Diabetes later on if she breastfeeds after that pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding saves time and money. Artificial baby milks and supplies are costly : $2000 to $3000 per year, per child in Canada
For some great information on breastfeeding, visit www.mothering.com where you will find articles on how to prepare for breastfeeding, how to navigate potential problems, where to find a lactation consultant, and lots of great stories about the experiences of breastfeeding Mamas. You can also look for your local La Leche League, a group dedicated to offering breastfeeding support and promotion on this site http://www.lllc.ca/.