World Breastfeeding Week begins on Tuesday and while breastfeeding can be quite a maze to navigate, most health experts agree that breast is best for both baby and mommy.
Here's 5 top reasons why.
1. Breastfeeding is great for the baby's immune system, both over the short and long term. Health experts even recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least for the first six months of a child's life. According to UNICEF, breast milk is the best source of perfectly balanced nutrients for newborns, and they can digest it easily. It also contains growth elements and protective properties, helping to protect the baby against illnesses such as diarrhoea, and chest and ear infections.
2. Breastfeeding is good for mommas too. It has been proven to lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis. Experts also say it also helps moms heal faster postpartum, helping her uterus return to pre-pregnancy size faster and lowering overall postpartum blood loss.
3. Although breastfeeding isn't completely free, considering nursing bras, breast pumps etc, it can be the more cost-effective option compared to formula feeding. Formula can be expensive depending on a variety of factors such as whether a mom is exclusively formula feeding or mixing it up and what the baby can accept or reject. According to Pricecheck, 1.8 kilograms' worth of Nestle Nan Optipro Stage 1 Starter Infant Formula costs R295.
4. Breastmilk is almost always at the right temperature for baby. Breasts can detect even a minor fluctuation in the body temperature of the baby and adjust accordingly to heat up or cool down baby as needed. Milk also changes its nutritional content as the baby grows, so milk for a two-month-old baby is different from milk for a ten-month-old baby.
5. Breastfeeding is a learning curve that might hurt but things should get better. It may cause discomfort or pain early on as the mom's body adjusts to the milk supply and her baby's latch. But this should cease as both mommy and baby get the hang of things. If it persists, it is advisable to consult a health care practitioner.