Two awesome benefits of breastfeeding
October 29 2021 10:29 AM
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Reem Abdulrahman  Jassim al-Muftah
Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah

By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim Al-Muftah

Last week I wrote about breast cancer awareness as it is the month of October, but I was regretfully unable to write about breastfeeding during World Breast Feeding Week last August. Although it’s been a while since, I still really feel that continuous and consistent communication educating the public is critical to developing a society that is health conscious, so I have decided to write about breast cancer awareness a little bit once again and tie it into breastfeeding as one of the two amazing benefits that come from it. The other being weight management.

Yes, breastfeeding definitely deserves raising awareness as it is highly beneficial for the mother and the baby and we are sadly seeing a decrease in breastfeeding across the country. That’s why I want to focus on two of the most least discussed benefits that you may not know and if not already, hopefully feel more motivated to give breastfeeding a try if you have the chance. Breastfeeding can decrease the risk of breast cancer and simultaneously does wonders with weight loss. How? Okay, so breast feeding can lower the risk of breast cancer, especially if the mother breastfeeds over 6 months. The reasons being that the breast cells are producing milk giving them less time and ultimately the inability to misbehave, also because of lower estrogen levels due to fewer menstrual cycles during and after pregnancy and finally, because of the trend to live a healthier lifestyle during pregnancy and while breastfeeding (ultimately eating a better diet, exercising, and limiting smoking and alcohol use). Remember, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women as 1 out of 7 will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime and any type of potential prevention is worth a shot! And just to add, studies also show that breastfeeding can potentially decrease the risk of ovarian cancer and osteoporosis too.

If you didn’t know already breastfeeding is an extremely challenging experience and journey in terms of fatigue, pain, time commitment, physical health, and especially mental health, but for some women, they see the light at the end of the tunnel because of the weight-loss benefits. Did you know that a breastfeeding mother can burn up to 800 calories per day? An exclusively pumping mother can also lose up to 500 calories per day! How? During breastfeeding the body, along with fresh energy from your diet, uses the fat cells that were stored in the body during pregnancy to produce milk. Data shows that women initially tend to lose an initial 6-7 kilograms after delivery and eventually start to lose around 1 kilogram per month for the first 6 months, and that’s without bringing in the healthy lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet and exercise. Data also shows that even with the additional 300-500 calories recommended by physicians to maintain a mother’s energy and breastfeeding, women have still been noted to lose weight.

Another way breastfeeding helps you maintain your body is the release of oxytocin, the hormone that is known as the “love hormone” and is associated with reproduction and childbirth. Oxytocin helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size which helps push in your stomach reducing the look of weight-gain and potentially motivating the struggling mother to continue.

In conclusion, if you are a man or a woman, the next time you see or hear a mother doubt her abilility to continue to breastfeed, step in, motivate her, support her and educate her on the awesome benefits she might have no clue about.

 

 

 

The author is the wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.

Last updated: October 29 2021 10:30 AM


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