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Breastfeeding - an investment in the future.

To many new mums, breastfeeding is more than just feeding. It is time for bonding, relaxing, well being and improving the health of both mother and baby.  

Breast milk is perfectly tailored to a baby's ever-evolving needs. It contains essential nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals, all calibrated to optimise growth and development. Unlike formula, breast milk adapts its composition over time, responding to the baby's changing dietary demands. This dynamic adaptability ensures optimal nourishment and lays the foundation for a strong immune system.

Beyond nutrition, breastfeeding acts as a shield against illness. Its cocktail of antibodies, transferred from mother to baby, offers protection against a multitude of infections, from earaches and diarrhoea to pneumonia and meningitis. Studies have even linked breastfeeding to a lowered risk of chronic diseases later in life, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Breastfeeding also benefits wellbeing. The skin-to-skin contact and rhythmic suckling of breastfeeding trigger the release of oxytocin, the love hormone, fostering a deep sense of connection and attachment. This intimate bond not only promotes emotional well-being but also facilitates responsive caregiving, attuning mothers to their babies' subtle cues and strengthening the parent-child relationship.

For mothers, breastfeeding promotes postnatal weight loss by helping the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. It lowers the risk of postnatal depression, thanks to the oxytocin surge and the sense of accomplishment it fosters. Also, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Breastfeeding also has benefits to society as a whole. It can reduce pressure on the NHS by lowering the incidences of infant illness and hospitalisations. It is sustainable and produces less waste. There is no packaging involved.  Furthermore, it contributes to cognitive development and academic success in children, leading to a more productive and thriving future generation.

Despite the undeniable benefits, breastfeeding mothers often face challenges. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure. Breastfeeding can be hard to start with and can require a lot of support that simply is not available. Some mothers can’t breastfeed for a variety of reasons and some simply choose not to.. There needs to be plenty of support available postnatally, for mothers to access when needing help with breastfeeding. 

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