Having a baby is one of the most amazing and exciting experiences anyone can wish to have. As it is World Breastfeeding Week coming up soon, I would like to use my column to make you aware of the many benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start in life and I want to take this opportunity to offer some assurances to any new or soon-to-be mothers concerned about how to feed their little one.
It is perfectly normal to worry about whether you want to breastfeed and I understand it is a daunting prospect. There are however a number of health benefits for yourself and your baby which formula milk cannot provide.
The benefits to your baby include the protection breastfeeding provides against diseases and infections. Did you know breast milk reduces a baby’s risk of sickness, diarrhoea, sudden infant death syndrome, type 2 diabetes and obesity? It can also help provide a strong emotional bond between baby and mother, as well as ensuring breast milk is available for your baby whenever it is needed.
Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months of your baby’s life. The more you breastfeed, the more benefits you will feel, which includes reducing the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease.
One of the main reasons causing mothers to avoid breastfeeding is due to the number of myths surrounding breastfeeding, including the idea not many mothers choose to do it. It may surprise you that the number is in fact a very high 73 per cent.
Another common rumour is that breastfeeding hurts. This should not be the case and if you experience pain in your breasts or nipples, it’s usually because your baby isn’t positioned or attached properly. If you’re having trouble, ask your midwife, health visitor or a breastfeeding specialist to watch a whole feed to help spot the problem.
If you have any breastfeeding questions, you can message Start4Life’s Facebook page for fast, trusted advice any time. You can also sign up for their email service by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/signups/new.
Breastfeeding is vitally important and I really hope any young mothers reading this are seriously considering the benefits it can bring. Please spread the word!