BREASTFEEDING AND OBESITY: Best Evidenced Data

Breastfeeding is the number one cure in preventing childhood obesity

Hello Mamas. Here is another exciting topic on breastfeeding and obesity. For centuries obesity has been a common problem in the world.

Making a decision to breastfeed your baby benefits both you and your baby. There are so many health benefits to your child from breastfeeding, including prevention of infections such as ear infections, diarrhea, and other bacterial and viral infections. Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help protect against diabetes and some cancers. Breastfeeding provides warmth and closeness between you and your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding your child for the first year of life.

I have wonderful news today, breastfeeding also provides many other benefits for mothers. Mothers who breastfeed tend to lose pregnancy weight more quickly. I can testify to this. When I delivered my babies, I looked forward to breastfeeding because I knew it would help me to loose the weight from childbirth fast. Hormones released during breastfeeding help to return the uterus to its normal size and can prevent postpartum bleeding. Research shows that women who have breastfed have lower chances of getting ovarian cancer and breast cancer later in life. Many mothers also feel joy and fulfillment from the connection they experience with their child while nursing.

One important health benefit of breastfeeding is prevention of obesity. Obesity is one of the most serious health problems facing both children and adults today. Childhood obesity often leads to adult obesity, which causes many health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and even early death. Researchers are learning more about how breastfeeding can help prevent obesity. Breast milk provides your baby with food that is easy to digest and very nutritious, and your child helps decide how much to eat and when to eat it. Both the breast milk itself and the way your baby feeds help him or her to develop healthy eating patterns. Breastfed babies seem to be better able to regulate their food intake and thus are at lower risk for obesity.

What Does the Recent Data Research Say?

Breastfeeding is the number one cure in preventing childhood obesity

According to the JAMA Peadiactrics Network, the question is asked:

What is the impact of a nutrition-focused home-visiting intervention on early childhood obesity and associated risk factors?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial of 134 Navajo mothers and their infants enrolled 3 to 12 months post partum, mothers who received the Family Spirit Nurture infant nutrition and responsive feeding home-visiting intervention vs those who did not reported feeding children substantially fewer sugar-sweetened beverages and having better responsive feeding practices. In turn, their infants had lower body mass index z scores.

Meaning  Results of this trial suggest that a home-visiting intervention created in partnership with and for Native American individuals is an effective strategy for promoting healthy infant feeding and growth in the first year of life.

Another recent study :

Breastfeeding reduces the rate of obesity

Here is another   new study published in the journal Pediatrics . It showed that what really helped prevent obesity was getting breast milk directly from the breast.

That’s not to say that drinking expressed breast milk from a bottle isn’t healthy. After all, it’s the food that was explicitly designed for infants — and in the study, babies that got breast milk from a bottle did have lower rates of obesity at 12 months. Some of that benefit is thought to be related to the microbiome that breast milk helps create. Babies who drink breast milk are more likely to have certain bacteria in their digestive tracts that help prevent obesity.

But the babies that had the lowest risk of obesity in the study were those that got only breast milk directly from the breast for the first three months of life. Why would that be?

To be able to breastfeed directly from the breast for three months, you have to be able to be with your baby constantly for three months. Mothers who can do that either have access to paid maternity leave or have enough resources to take an unpaid leave — or to stay at home with their babies and not work outside the home at all. Studies have shown that mothers who breastfeed longer are more likely to have higher incomes, more education, and private insurance.

These, then, are mothers who are also more likely to have access to and be able to afford healthy foods, to live in areas where there are safe places to exercise — and to be able to pay for sports and other forms of exercise as their children grow. It’s not just about how these babies are fed, but also about the context in which they are born and raised.

The way in which they are fed, though, is important. Babies who feed directly from the breast are less likely to be overfed. When they are full, they stop sucking, or switch to a “comfort” kind of sucking that doesn’t produce milk. When babies are fed from bottles, parents and caregivers are more likely to push them to finish the bottle; feeding becomes a bit less about appetite and more about volume and schedule.

Lets teach children to eat only when hungry?

Children have to be taught how to manage their food intake!

This topic reminds me of an incident I will share with you. I have a niece who was visiting me at one time. She was about 7 years old at the time. She came with her breakfast at about 10 am and ate all of it. By the way it was a burger king order of a hamburger sandwich, fries and yes a regular orange soda. She was junky at the time and I began to understand why. Do you believe at 12pm she said she was ready to eat again even though she ate just 2 hours ago? I said to her but you should not be hungry now because you just ate at 10. She looked at me and said, but aunty I always eat at 12 o clock.” Well my dear, you will not be eating at 12 o clock today. She asked why aunty? I said because you are not hungry. That was the end of that. Sometimes we as parents are the culprits in enabling our children’s obesity, so we have to be careful.

Learning to eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full is a really good skill when it comes to preventing obesity. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged parents to learn and use “responsive feeding,” that is, responding to the cues of babies and children of both hunger and being full. The motto is, “You provide, your child decides.”

What this study helps us see is that the link between breastfeeding and obesity prevention is part of a bigger picture we need to pay attention to if we want to fight the obesity epidemic. It shows us that we need to:

  • Advocate for maternity leave to stay at home to breastfeed your baby for at least 3 months.
  • Encourage your child to eat only when hungry and stop when they are full.
  • Understand obesity risk as part of a bigger societal issue — truly, as a social justice issue. All children need — and deserve — access to healthy foods and exercise. Try to give your children access to healthy foods and exercise.
  • Another consideration I have observed is that when babies are born, parents tend to give them more of the sweet foods. Be careful with this because they can grow up wanting the sweet foods more than the unsweetened foods that are healthier that the sweetened foods. Teach them to appreciate the veggies just as much as the fruits.

Prevent The Ruin Of Your Child’s Self Esteem: You have the power!

Self esteem is so important Mamas!

I have a little personal story I would like to share with you. One of my daughters when she was 10 years old, My husband and I noted that she was morbidly becoming obese. We noted that the obesity was making her to have a low self esteem, as her colleagues at school were now teasing her in school. You know what we did to help her ? We managed her eating and got her into a regular exercise program with us . We would take her with us three times per week during our walking exercise. She lost that weight quickly and got her self esteem back!

What are the rates of breastfeeding globally?

Despite the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding rates remain low in many parts of the world. Actions to increase the rate of breastfeeding include:

  • education and support of mothers throughout pregnancy and beyond;
  • support and protection of breastfeeding in the workplace;
  • implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative; and
  • implementation of and adherence to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. I was so happy to have had the privilege of breastfeeding my children. It was not always enjoyable, but because of the benefits, I pursued it. It is so good! My children proved it . I observe a high intelligence rate in them. They are smart intellectually.

Bottom Line

Breastfeeding and obesity do have a correlation. Breastfeeding is by far the best way to prevent childhood obesity. We ought to become our children’s advocate for healthy eating and activities that would help them to be happier and healthy. Remember you have the power of God within you to do all things through His strength. Do the best you can to breastfeed or give expressed breast milk if you are not breastfeeding and reduce the risk of your child developing obesity. If you have questions or comments let me know below. Please watch the exciting video below as Dr jones

explain.

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