World Breastfeeding Week is observed from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and to highlight its importance for optimal growth of the baby. The theme for the World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is 'support breast feeding for a healthier planet.' Breastfeeding is the most natural phenomenon which has long-term health benefits for both mother and the child. While breast milk helps physical and mental growth of the child, it also provides immunity to the mother. Breastfeeding is a boon for the mother as well as the baby.
Research shows that new mothers who exclusively breastfeed have lower risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, reduces risks of cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis later in their lives. Skipping the lactation phase could be most problematic for mothers in the future increasing their risks to the many cancers and decrease in bone density.
Another amazing health benefit of breastfeeding is that it can help in losing post-pregnancy weight. In this article, Dr. Anuradha Lokhare, Obstetrician and Gynecologist consultant at Columbia Asia Hospital explains how breastfeeding helps in weight loss.
Here's how breastfeeding helps new mothers stay fit and healthy
Weight loss is one of the biggest concerns for new mothers. Motherhood brings several changes in a woman's life including mental and physical health. Mothers may face reduced stamina, sleep deprivation, a complete change in their daily schedules and the stress of learning how to raise a child.
Dr. Lokhare explains, "Breastfeeding is a gift that any mother can give to her child and herself. It not only secures the health of a child but also the mother. Breastfeeding allows a woman to burn calories every time she produces breast milk to nurse her child. Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin which helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and reduces uterine bleeding after birth."
"Breastfeeding is considered natural way of helping new moms lose their baby weight. Breastfeeding for 3-6 months may help lose more weight than formula-feeding or a combination of the two," she adds.
Healthy tips new mothers should follow
- During lactation mothers should focus on making healthy choices. Consume a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables. Adequate water consumption also plays a role. For weight loss, mothers should not choose crash diets and heavy workouts as it can be harmful for them as well as the baby. If you are trying to lose weight, limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, cheese and fatty meats. Moderate physical activity will also help in reduction of weight.
- Mothers who make the choice to exclusively breastfeed and face issues with latching should consult a lactation consultant who will help her adjust her posture and diet to ensure adequate milk supply.