I am very happy to announce that we have managed to get Ann’s regular input regarding all the things we should know but often get bad advise on regarding looking after the very small people in our lives; babies and toddlers…
Ann has extensive knowledge and experience in this area having graduated in Child and Youth studies followed by specialist training in Post Natal care, Breastfeeding and infant Sleep training. You can read more about Ann on Our Expert Panel page.
In her first post for 2011, Ann walks us though the importance of breastfeeding. With recent controversies being circulated in the news media her 10-top-tips and health benefits should help redress the situation.
10 Amazing Facts about Breastfeeding!
The World Health Organisation strongly recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life to support optimal health, growth and development. Here are just a few of the many amazing facts about breastfeeding that support this recommendation.
1) Human milk is easily digested by infants providing all the nutrients, hormones, enzymes and immunities to meet your baby’s requirements for optimal growth, development and health.
2) Human milk contains antibodies that help protect against infection and disease such as ear and respiratory infections, allergies, intestinal infections and diseases, meningitis, diabetes and some cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer for girls.
3) Breastfeeding helps prevent cancer in mothers too. The World Cancer Research Fund 2007 recommends breastfeeding to protect against pre-menopausal and post-menopausal breast cancer, and there is some evidence that breastfeeding also protects against ovarian cancer too.
4) Human milk supports maximum brain growth and development. Analysis has concluded that not only is breastfeeding related to higher levels of cognitive function than formula feeding, but these benefits are greater for breastfed premature infants than full-term breastfed infants.
5) Breastfeeding helps promote baby’s sleep. Recent research revealed high concentrations of three nucleotides in breast milk produced during the evening and night, which help to relax baby’s central nervous system and promote sleep.
6) Sucking at the breast facilitates and promotes the development of the jaw and straight teeth, so children who were breastfed require less orthodontic work than those who were formula fed.
7) Breastfeeding may protect against osteoporosis. Research now suggests that postmenopausal women who have breastfed for extended periods have comparable or higher bone mineral density and lower risk of hip fracture than women who have never breastfed.
8) The hormone oxyocin plays an important role in lactation, stimulating the ‘letdown reflex’, and breastfeeding itself stimulates the release of oxytocin. High levels of oxytocin has a calming, relaxing effect for lactating mothers, triggering nurturing behaviours which supports the mother-baby attachment relationship.
9) Breastfeeding protects against obesity. Research evidence concludes that duration of breastfeeding is directly related to decreased risk of a child becoming overweight or obese.
10)It’s the ultimate in convenience foods! It’s free, always the right temperature and always available, no preparation required!
Sources and Further Reading:
Torgus, J. And Gortsch, G. (2007) The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (7th Edition). Plume
Newman, J and Pitman, T. (2006). The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers. Three Rivers Press
Ina May Gaskin (2009) Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding. Pinter and Martin.
While Ann can’t offer personal advise, please feel free to comment or pose general questions and she will do her very best to answer.