This week marks the 25th year of World Breastfeeding Week, so we thought we should get involved and help spread the good word about the positive effects of Breastfeeding.
Did you know that in Norway only 1% of infants had never received any breast milk with the rates of any breastfeeding, 95% at four weeks of age, 85% at four months of age and 80% at six months of age (WHO, 2012). Compared to the UK where 81% of mothers had tried breastfeeding at some point, but only 34% were breastfeeding at six months and 0.5% at 12 months (BBC, 2016). That’s less than half of mothers here in the UK still breastfeeding at 6months compared to those in Norway.
Countless studies have shown the benefits of breastmilk, but the full extent of the good it can do are still under research. According to the organisation NCT, what we do know is:
Breastfeeding benefits for babies
- Breastmilk is a living fluid and every mum’s milk is tailor-made for her own baby. It contains many ingredients which help a baby stay healthy, such as antibodies to fight germs and hormones that help your baby’s development.
- Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have ear or urine infections or get stomach bugs or chest infections.
- Babies who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight children.
- If your family has allergies, your baby is less likely to get eczema or a wheezy chest if they are breastfed.
- Fewer babies who are breastfed get diabetes in childhood.
- Premature babies who receive breastmilk have a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (a potentially dangerous bowel disorder).
But lets not forget about mum! She has grown a little miracle, gone through the physical trauma of giving birth, and then if mum is able or decides to – she produces breastmilk!
Breastfeeding benefits for mothers
- Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of developing certain types of ovarian and breast cancer.
- Mums who have breastfed have a lower risk of diabetes when they get older.
- Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to its normal size after birth.
It’s a really tough time both mentally and physically, and it is important to note that some women, however keen they are to breastfeed, are unable to due to no fault of their own. It’s a personal choice, but one that should be an informed decision.
In the Chiropractic profession we often see the after effects of the challenges of having a baby resulting in greater laxity of ligaments, altered pelvic alignment, and general aches and pains. So it is important to also have yourself checked by a Chiropractor (and ideally your baby too by a pediatric Chiropractor).