Pregnant women and their partner are faced with many new challenges when welcoming a newborn into the world, which can often be very overwhelming. When it comes to feeding their newborn it is important that as nurses, we provide them with up to date information regarding feeding methods. This helps new parents make informed decisions in regards to which method is the best method for them. The following paper will discuss scientific evidence that supports both maternal and infant benefits of breastfeeding.
There has been research conducted and evidence collected to support that breastfeeding has many maternal benefits for “women who breastfeed, particularly to or beyond 1 year” (Godfrey & Ruth, 2010, p. 1598). These women have a reduced risk of developing many diseases and conditions, for example ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, postpartum depression and decreased postpartum bleeding (Godfrey & Ruth, 2010).
A study was conducted to determine if breastfeeding reduced the likelihood of ovarian cancer in 2005 (Luan, Wu, Gong, Vogtmann, Wang & Lin, 2013). They compared the women who breastfed with those who did not and determined that breastfeeding is associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer. Research supports that the longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower her risk is of developing ovarian cancer (Luan et al., 2013).
It has been established that longer periods of breastfeeding is related to a decrease in the occurrence of type 2 diabetes in women. It is believed that lactation is responsible for this reduction by increasing the body’s effectiveness to balance the amount of glucose in the blood and the amount of glucose needed in the cells (Godfrey & Ruth, 2010).
It is not uncommon for a woman to experience postpartum depression after the birth of her child. Postpartum depression can have serious negative effects on both mom and baby, especially if the woman is having thoughts of hurting her baby. However, research shows that when lactation occurs two hormones are released which have antidepressant properties; these two hormones are “prolactin and oxytocin” (Godfrey & Ruth, 2010, p. 1598).
As mentioned above by Godfrey & Ruth, 2010 when lactation occurs, the hormone oxytocin is released in small amounts. Oxytocin is given to postpartum women because oxytocin’s main action is to stimulate the uterus to contract to a normal size, this process is called involution. When a mother breastfeeds, the process of involution occurs more rapidly and therefore reduces postpartum bleeding (Ricci, 2013).
Breastfeeding has also been associated with many positive health related benefits for the Newborn. Research shows that breastfed babies have a decreased rate...