We have been hearing a lot that obesity during pregnancy increases the chance of various complications at the time of delivery. But now there is another reason to avoid obesity. Researchers have found that obesity leads to late breast milk production in new moms.
Research shows that mothers who are obese (with a BMI >30) are less likely to initiate lactation, have delayed lactogenesis II, and are prone to early cessation of breastfeeding. Women who are overweight and obese have lowered prolactin responses to suckling. Women who are obese are at risk for prolonged labor, excessive labor stress, and cesarean birth, all of which delayed lactogenesis II.
Breastfeeding is an investment in health and not a lifestyle decision
Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is essential to ensure the growth and development of children to their full potential. It has been recognized worldwide that breastfeeding is beneficial for both the mother and child, as breast milk is considered the best source of nutrition for an infant. Economic and social benefits are also provided to the family, the health care system, and the employer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, followed by breastfeeding along with complementary foods for up to two years of age or beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding can be defined as a practice whereby the infants receive only breast milk without mixing it with water, other liquids, tea, herbal preparations, or food in the first six months of life, with the exception of vitamins, mineral supplements, or medicines.
Benefit for mothers
Breastfeeding can help lower a mother’s risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
Benefit for infants
Breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants. As the mother’s milk contains some Ig, it helps protect the baby against various infections. Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of Asthma, Obesity, Type 1 diabetes, Lower respiratory disease, Acute otitis media, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and Gastrointestinal infections.
Lactation has a significant role in preventing future obesity in the mother and child.