Mon, Feb 27, 2017 | updated 09:26 PM IST

Here's how breastfeeding benefits you and your baby

Updated: Aug 23, 2016 17:59 IST

By Pallavi Aman Singh

New Delhi, Aug 23 (ANI): Almost every new mom knows that she is giving her newborn the best start in life by breastfeeding and not a day goes by without more evidence.

According to Dr Avinash Lakkampally, MD, pediatrician registered on Buzz4health, "Breastfeeding is the best medicine a mother can give her children during the first six months of their growth."

"Breast milk is packed with disease-fighting minerals and loaded with nutrients that are required to protect the baby from an illness. A mother is able to pass on essential antibodies to the baby through her breast milk. From digestive problems to respiratory and other infections, breast milk prevents a number of childhood infections and illnesses and strengthens the child's immune system," he told ANI.

Dr Lakkampally further noted that the practice yields tremendous health benefits not only for babies, but also for mothers.

"While physicians advise six months of compulsory breastfeeding to ensure healthy brain development and improved cognitive performance in a child, the procedure can also help the mother reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer," he said.

Most women experience hormonal changes during lactation that cause delay in their menstrual cycle and according to Dr Lakkampally, this can lead to lower estrogen production and cut down the risk of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer among women.

Also, he added, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, a woman sheds her breast tissue. In this process, the cells with potential DNA damage are removed. This also reduces the chances of developing breast cancer. Another fatal disease that women are at a higher risk of developing is ovarian cancer.

Dr Lakkampally continued, "Breastfeeding helps to lower the risk of ovarian cancer by preventing ovulation. It also reduces the exposure to estrogen and abnormal cells that could lead to ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding can also alleviate the risks of cardiovascular disease in mothers and delay the return of the menstrual period, which helps to extend the time between pregnancies."

"However, to reap the required benefits of breastfeeding, a mother should nurse her child for at least six months. Only then can a woman lower the risks of malignant tumours and other diseases from harming her body," he concluded. (ANI)

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