How families can help support breastfeeding moms

In a woman’s life, milestones like pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and emotional connection with the little one, promote her emotional and psychological development. A soon-to-be mom expects a life full of happiness and joy after the birth of her child. But on the other side, she also struggles with an unknown fear, anxiety, lack of sleep, no time for self-care, helplessness, and feeling of failure as a parent.

After childbirth, continuous fatigue, mood swings, the difference in mother’s and child’s sleeping time, and emotional disarray can affect a mother’s parenting of her newborn. Many ways can help a mother in coping with these conditions. One such method is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding a child has numerous health benefits for both mothers and their newborns. Let’s understand how breastfeeding affects the health of moms and babies.

Advantages of breastfeeding

When babies are breastfed within the first hour after birth, they make a great start to their journey of sound development and growth. The first milk or colostrum produced after the baby’s birth is nutrients-rich, thick, and concentrated. The colostrum is yellow-golden and is a boon for a child’s growth and immunity. The following are the benefits of breastfeeding:

  • The doctor advises breastfeeding for at least six months, as it fulfills all the nutritional requirements of the babies.
  • The mother’s antibodies can transfer to their child through breastfeeding, which helps protect them from numerous illnesses until their body starts producing antibodies against infections.
  • Breast milk protects infants from developing acute and chronic conditions and diseases, such as ear infection, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDH), stomach ailments (diarrhea, constipation, and GERD), obesity, and type 1 diabetes.
  • Breastfeeding helps protect mothers from various illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure levels, and breast and ovarian cancers.
  • It is responsible for better vision and reduces the risk of developing premature retinopathy in kids.
  • Breastfeeding helps prevent numerous respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, whooping cough, and pneumonia.
  • Breastfed children have better memory and cognitive development.
  • Breastfeeding a child helps the mother develop an attachment and emotional association with the child.
  • Breastfeeding promotes faster weight loss in mothers after birth.
  • The hormones released during breastfeeding stimulate the mother’s uterus to return to its normal size.
  • During breastfeeding brain releases oxytocin and prolactin hormones, which help reduce stress, decrease the chances of getting postpartum depression, and mood enhancers.

WHO and UNESCO recommend breastfeeding for at least six months after childbirth. But this phase of breastfeeding is difficult for mothers. Healthcare professionals, hospitals, and family members should support mothers in breastfeeding.

What is a family’s role in supporting breastfeeding mothers?

As a breastfeeding mom, it is crucial to stay hydrated, eat extra calories, has a restful sleep with a good emotional relationship with the kid in addition to the household chores. For all the necessities, a helpful partner and supportive family can make a huge difference and help improve the mental and emotional health of the mother. The following are the few simple ways a family can help a breastfeeding mother:

  • You can create a comfortable ambience so that a mother can restfully breastfeed her baby with emotional and psychological comfort.
  • Don’t nitpick. A newly become mom is naïve to all the baby handling and breastfeeding techniques. Therefore, instead of finding flaws, help or support her.
  • Limit unnecessary visits and calls from relatives or friends.
  • Give the mother extra help during breastfeeding by giving her water, milk, a little back support, a snack, a massage, or a reading a book.
  • Compliment her. Appreciations such as you are doing a great job can boost mental health.
  • Breastfeeding is a 24×7 job, so the mother can’t focus on their diets and nutritional requirements, so you can make it easy by helping with this task.
  • Partner and family members can help with household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping for necessary items.
  • Giving moms time for themselves by taking care of the baby. Playing with a baby can also help develop better bonding with the child.
  • You can help the mom by changing the baby’s diapers, bathing them, taking them to stroll, burping the baby after breastfeeding, and helping with night feeding of pre-pumped breast milk.
  • You can ask a breastfeeding mom what help they need the most and do it without a second thought.

A small help and emotional support can make a big difference in a breastfeeding mother’s life. Every little thing you do encourages the mother towards breastfeeding.

Narayana Health

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