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Breastfeed And Its Importance

Dr. Prashant K Vaidya 91% (15773 ratings)
Diploma In Gastroenterology, Diploma In Dermatology, BHMS
Homeopath, Hyderabad  •  10 years experience

How Long To Breastfeed To Get Benefits?

There is no fixed duration to breastfeed. When considering the duration you wish to feed your baby, do take note of the following points:

Exclusive till six months: Pediatric and medical experts throughout the globe recommend exclusive breastfeeding up to six months and then breastfeeding in combination with solid food for up to 12 months.
Continue after 12 months: The AAP recommends breastfeeding beyond the first birthday and encourages mothers to do so. A toddler may get most of his nutrition from solid food, but he still enjoys added benefits of breastmilk that contains unique substances such as antibodies.

Can extend to two years and beyond: The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends breastfeeding up to two years and even beyond if the mother and toddler wish to do so. WHO states that breastmilk is a “natural food”. Even when the baby is a year-and-a-half old, breastmilk is capable of providing a third of the toddler’s nutritional requirements.

What Are The Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Mother?
Here are some scientifically proven benefits of breastfeeding a baby.

Health benefits:
While your baby benefits from the breastmilk, you gain health advantages as well.

  • Quick postpartum recovery: Mothers who breast-feed recover faster post-delivery even if it is a Cesarean-section. It happens because suckling of the nipples releases the hormone oxytocin, which speeds the recovery of the uterus, letting it regain its original shape.
  • Breastfeeding can help you lose pregnancy fat: Producing milk uses additional calories that body sources from the body fat accumulated during pregnancy. It means, mothers, who exclusively breastfeed, tend to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight faster.
  • Lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers: The chances of getting breast and ovarian cancers are lower in women who breastfeed. Researchers found that a woman can reduce her risk of breast cancer by 50% if she breastfed for two years in life. Other studies noted a reduced chance of having ovarian cancer if the mother breastfed at least for a year. These benefits last a lifetime thus making breastfeeding a form of natural health insurance for a woman.
  • Lowers the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes: Extensive research has proven that when you breastfeed, you invariably reduce the chance of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, and type 2 diabetes.
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