According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of obese children worldwide has increased ten-fold in the last four decades. The Pennsylvania Department of Health found that nearly 2 out of every 10 elementary school-age children in the state were considered obese during the 2017─2018 school year. Obesity should concern all parents because it’s related to other chronic health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Fortunately, breastfeeding can significantly reduce your child’s risk of obesity, especially when paired with other prevention strategies.
Exclusive breastfeeding provides the greatest protection against obesity.
The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months to gain the greatest overall health benefits provided by breastmilk. A recent study found that exclusively breastfed infants have a 31% lower chance of developing obesity later in life. However, any breastfeeding at all will provide some protection.
How does breastfeeding prevent obesity?
Breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for newborns, according to medical experts. Because it is created specifically for infants, it is easier to digest than formula and it provides exactly the nutrients your baby needs. In addition, breast milk is “controlled” by your baby’s appetite. Because breastfed babies are better able to regulate their food intake, they run a lower risk of obesity.
When does a newborn require solids?
Introducing solids or formula early increases the risk of childhood obesity and its associated risks later in life. It can also increase your child’s risk of developing food allergies. If you’re able to exclusively breastfeed your baby, she won’t need solids until she’s six months old.
Seek help when breastfeeding to get all the benefits your baby deserves.
The same study of Pennsylvania childhood obesity rates found that mothers who received support from profession lactation counselors were more likely to continue breastfeeding for the first six months. A lactation counselor can help you determine the best way to hold your baby and learn how to identify your baby’s feeding cues. She can also give you invaluable guidance and emotional support when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
We’re here when you need us.
For moms who have a difficult time breastfeeding or who must return to work, pumping can be a viable option to ensure that your baby gets all the nutritional and health benefits of breast milk. At Milk N Mamas Baby, our lactation experts can help you successfully navigate the early days of breastfeeding and pumping and ensure long-term success as well. We can help you choose a pump that maximizes both your comfort and your breastmilk production and offer tips to get you over the bumps. Give us a call today to learn more about the benefits of breast milk and how to incorporate pumping.