August 1, 2023
Breastfeeding is a topic that is often discussed in the context of nutrition and health.
Dr. Esther Rockson, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital in Gauteng says there are many other benefits to breastfeeding that extend beyond just the physical well-being of the baby.
“In fact, breastfeeding is not just beneficial to baby, but also to mother and even the extended family. These benefits include mental, physiological, and in these tough economic times, financial benefits, too.”
Sr. Nonhlanhla Lengana a registered midwife who works closely with Dr Rockson, says one of the most significant mental benefits of breastfeeding is the well documented bonding experience it provides between mothers and babies. “Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of love, trust, and attachment. This can help mothers and babies feel more connected to each other. Oxytocin provides a feeling of security and comfort.”
She says in addition, breastfeeding can reduce the risk of postpartum depression and anxiety in the mother when done correctly and with support, as babies always know what to do i.e., to suck but mom’s need to learn the technique, which can have a positive impact on the mother, but also the entire family.
“Breastfeeding has numerous physiological benefits for both mothers and babies. Breastmilk is a perfect food for babies, providing all the nutrients they need to grow and develop. It also contains antibodies that can help protect babies from infections and diseases.”
Dr. Rockson says breastfeeding can also help mothers recover from the experience of childbirth more quickly, “as it helps to reduce inflammation and prevent blood loss.”
In terms of financial benefits, breastfeeding can not only save money on formula, but on other infant feeding expenses. “There is ongoing research into the benefits of breastfeeding and how it can reduce the need for medical interventions and hospital stays for a well-nourished infant. So, from a financial standpoint, breastfeeding can save families money on healthcare costs,” she says.
“Breastfeeding can also help mothers return to work sooner, as it reduces the need for time off to care for a sick baby.”
Dr. Rockson says breastfeeding should not be viewed as just a nutritional choice, but as a comprehensive approach to maternal and child health. “The mental, physiological, and financial benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and families are numerous and significant,” she says.
At Busamed we support expectant mothers with important resources they need to make informed decisions about their feeding choices. Contact any of our three maternity units, nationwide for more information.
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