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Breastfeeding is good for mother’s mental health

Readers Lounge By Rachel Murugi
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your child (Shutterstock)

There has been a serious bone of contention about what exactly mothers should do when it comes to feeding their babies.

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Should they exclusively breastfeed, formula feed or practice mixed feeding? Some are advised to take the method that bests suits their needs.

It is, however, important that you know that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your child.

Formula feeding doesn't come close to breastfeeding in offering the necessary nutrients. Breastfeeding is also cheaper when compared to other feeding practices, particularly formula.

The beauty of this is understanding how good breastfeeding actually is to the mother's mental health.

Whereas some theorists argue that pain can make a mother disregard breastfeeding and hence get depressed, this is to a very low percentage.

Agreeably, pain could occur to the mother during breastfeeding if the child isn't positioned well. With enough support, however, the breastfeeding experience becomes such a binder for the mother and her baby.

The act of breastfeeding supports the hormonal surges of both oxytocin and prolactin. This release encourages a mother to feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety.

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This is even possible to mothers who had previous trauma, yet decide to breastfeed.  

Breastfeeding is also known to help regulate and reduce the body’s inflammatory response. A lot of inflammation in the mother’s body is dependent on how depressed sheis. To imagine that breastfeeding actually reduces this is incredible.

Breastfeeding is also cheaper when compared to other feeding practices, particularly formula (Shutterstock)

According to Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a health psychologist and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, breastfeeding plays a key role in ensuring that mothers have a low chance of getting post-partum depression.

According to her study, women who wanted to breastfeed but could not for one reason or the other, became depressed.

Those who formula feed cite higher depression rates than their purely breastfeeding counterparts.

Breastfeeding can also help mothers feel empowered, confident, and heal birth trauma as well.

The breastfeeding hormones are also known to help reduce the impact of stress. Breastfeeding thus helps reduce sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can cause a lot of stress in a mother.

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Also, if you compare bottle fed babies and breastfed ones, the mother of the breastfed baby is less likely to wake up to a fussy child who want to suckle and feel the mother's warmth.

Feeding the baby through breastfeeding is not all about the milk and the child being full. It goes beyond that as it makes the child more comfortable, the smell of the mother is also soothing and calming. As such, the breastfeeding mother will report higher cases of mental clarity as her bond with her child will be solid.

Mothers need to realize the power they have to raising their children as well as maintaining sanity throughout this life changing process. With the right support, more women can opt for breastfeeding.

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