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1-min read

Breastfeeding Week: 7 Surprising Ways Breastfeeding Benefits a Mother's Health

According to the journal Preventive Medicine, mothers who breastfed for at least four months had 20 to 30 per cent lower risks for hypertension and heart disease.

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Updated:August 1, 2019, 3:24 PM IST
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Breastfeeding Week: 7 Surprising Ways Breastfeeding Benefits a Mother's Health
(Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Wavebreak/ Istock.com)
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World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1 to August 7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of mothers and babies around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 8,00,000 lives every year, the majority being children under 6 months.

WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until the baby is 6 months old. It further recommends that nutritious complementary foods should be added while continuing breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.

Here are 7 surprising health benefits of breastfeeding your baby:

According to WHO, breastfeeding reduces the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart ailments.

According to a 2016 study conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, breastfeeding helps burn extra calories and help mothers lose pregnancy weight faster.

According to a study by Dr Carmen Alicia Vargas Berenjeni and team from the Hospital Universitario Nuestra Senora de Valme in Sevilla, Spain, breastfeeding after a caesarean section (C-section) may help reduce pain, among mothers who breastfed their babies for at least 2 months after the operation. The mothers who breastfeed are three times less likely to experience persistent pain compared to those who breastfed for less than 2 months.

Breastfeeding also help reduce the risk of postpartum depression (PPD). A study in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine found that women who breastfed for the first four months of their babies’ lives had a reduced risk of developing PPD.

According to the journal Preventive Medicine, mothers who breastfed for at least four months had 20 to 30 per cent lower risks for hypertension and heart disease.

In a study published in the American Academy of Neurology, mothers who breastfeed for at least 15 months are 53 per cent less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS).

Breastfeeding also helps mother live longer. Maternal and Child Nutrition found that, for every 597 women who breastfed for six months exclusively and at least a year in total, one maternal or child death is prevented.

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