The Effects of Breastfeeding
When it comes to breastfeeding, most studies tend to focus more on its benefits on the child by putting emphasis on the quality and quantity of the milk that is produced. However, it is important to also consider the short and long term effects of breastfeeding on the mother as well.
The Impact of Breastfeeding on Mothers
Studies show that there was a decline in breastfeeding from the 1940 to early 1970s which depicts a concern on the lack in interest in the long term maternal health outcomes. Although more emphasis on breastfeeding is put on the child’s wellbeing, reasons for this imbalance are still unclear. A child that is breastfed is likely to double its weight within the first 4-6 months post birth. These metabolic adjustments tend to redirect the nutrient right from the maternal needs to synthesis the milk involve almost all the maternal organ system.
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Short-term Health Effects of Breastfeeding on Mothers
- Return of ovulation. Breastfeeding suppresses the release of the gonadotropin releasing hormone. It also stimulates prolactin production
- Sexuality. The hormonal changes which occur during the lactation process impact the mother’s mood and sexuality depending on the intensity of the breastfeeding.
Long-term Health Effects of Breastfeeding on Mothers
- Obesity. Studies show that the mother’s weight may be altered during the lactation process in regards to energy expenditure, metabolism of adipose tissue.
- Osteoporosis. Studies show that a breastfeeding woman with an approximate milk output of 750 ml of milk per day for 6 months is likely to lose 50 g of calcium.
- Bone Metabolism. Several mechanisms are likely to occur during the pregnancy and lactation season in regards to the lactation demands for calcium.
- Bone mineralization. Studies show that bone mineralization reduces in breastfeeding mothers although remineralization will occur in the post lactation stage.