The 2022 theme for World Breastfeeding Week is ‘Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’. This year, HELWEI has compiled some interesting facts about breastfeeding.
Did You Know?
- It takes two to four days after birth for breast milk to be produced. Before then, the milk produced is called Colostrum. Colostrum is thick, sticky, and has surplus calcium, proteins, minerals, and antibodies for the new baby.
- What a mother eats can affect the color of her breast milk. This does not harm the baby in any way.
- The size of a mother’s breast does not determine the amount of breast milk she can produce.
- The nutritional content of the breast milk changes as the baby develops, to meet with the baby’s needs.
- There is no single opening for the passage of breast milk. Breast milk comes out of many holes in the nipple known as milk duct orifices.
- Body modifications such as breast implants and nipple piercings do not affect breastfeeding. This is with the exception of new piercings that are prone to infections and implant incisions made beneath the breast or through the armpit.
Breastfeeding is as beneficial to mothers as it is to babies, and here is why:
- It reduces the risk of breast cancer.
- It reduces the risk of ovarian cancer (abnormal growth in the ovary).
- It releases oxytocin and prolactin that cause stress reduction and produce positive emotions in the nursing mother.
- The oxytocin released during breastfeeding causes cramps that help to contract the uterus to its size before pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day, thereby facilitating the mother’s loss of extra weight gained during pregnancy.
And for our lovely babies, the list is endless:
HELWEI’S Breastfeeding Champion (Full video uploaded on HELWEI’s social media channels)
- They have lower risks of childhood illnesses such as ear infections, respiratory illnesses, amongst others.
- Higher maturity rate for the baby’s brain. It can increase the white matter of the child’s brain by twenty to thirty percent.
- Lower risk of having obesity later in childhood.
- Breast milk balances the baby’s stomach after introduction of solid food and ensures easy digestion.
- The oxytocin from the mother’s body helps the baby to sleep better after feeding.
Myths surrounding breastfeeding:
- Many women like to believe that formula is the same as breast milk. Formula does not replace breast milk. Breast milk is essential for babies as it seals the openings in the lining of the baby’s intestines to prepare them for food.
- Babies should not be woken up from sleep to breastfeed. Especially in the first few days after birth, babies will sleep a lot. It is necessary to wake the sleeping baby and create a breastfeeding routine for them.
- Women erroneously think that they should not breastfeed while on medication. As long as the medication is approved by a doctor who is aware that a mother is breastfeeding, the baby is safe.
- People largely believe that breastfeeding for over a year makes it difficult to wean a baby. This belief is not backed up by any evidence. On the other hand, longer breastfeeding time has more benefits for both the mother and the child.
- Babies naturally know how to suckle. Although babies are naturally inclined to search for the breasts, breastfeeding has to be taught to them through proper positioning and attachment to the breast.