The Benefits of Breastfeeding - Pregnancy Nigeria

April 21, 2024

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Pregnancy Nigeria

This blog post is dedicated to highlighting just a few of the powerful benefits of breastfeeding or
nursing. Of note, breastfeeding or nursing is strongly encouraged within the first 6 months of an
infant’s life.

When your little one latches and begins to receive your elixir for life, otherwise known as
breastmilk, oxytocin is released from your brain. In general, hormones are tiny yet mighty
messengers of the human body responsible for MANY aspects of physiology (what makes the
body work) and our behavior (how we humans respond to our environment). Oxytocin is a
hormone that promotes the feeling of attachment towards your baby. As you nurse your infant
you are simultaneously securing a bond that will last a lifetime! However, this hormone is also
responsible for those very uncomfortable uterine contractions you feel throughout the immediate
postpartum period. The uterus expands and thickens throughout your pregnancy to create a
safe environment for the growing fetus, but it must return to normal once your baby is on this
side of the womb. Without returning to normal your womb (uterus) will bleed, which is a serious
emergency!

Breastfeeding fosters an environment that is extremely responsive to the needs of your baby.
This intimate act will promote a sense of trust between your infant and their caregivers. This
sense of trust is integral to their healthy development in the earlier stages of life and is a source
of the deep bonds that kids develop with their mothers and others as they mature.
In addition to secure attachment and prevention of postpartum hemorrhage, breastfeeding
transfers a vital immune system to your infant’s body. Through breast milk your baby receives its
first line of defense against many of the germs in our dirty world (and it is quite dirty!). This
makes breast milk VERY protective.

Although the benefits to your precious little one are plentiful, there are several lifestyle changes
that you will have to mentally prepare for such as disruption to your sleep cycle to feed, changes
to your breasts due to feeding (e.g. nipple soreness), and the responsibility of being your
infants’ source of nutrition. For these reasons you MUST stay in touch with friends and family as
a source of critical support throughout your beautiful breastfeeding journey!

The Bottom Line Breastfeeding is challenging but incredibly rewarding, especially within a community of loving
people.

Charity, affectionately known as Nurse Lackey, centers her research interests around the drivers
and barriers to achieving health equity. As a nurse scientist she aims to utilize design thinking
and human-centered innovation as processes capable of shifting our shared reality in a positive
direction. Her primary research interests focus on examining the influence of culture on the
experience of trauma, stress, and coping through storytelling methods such as
autoethnography. Through the power of community building and team science she intends to
develop multilevel interventions that promote holistic wellbeing, especially throughout the
African Diaspora.

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