The benefits of promoting breastfeeding at work

Madrid, 31 July (European Press) –

To coincide with the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week from 1st to 7th August, the Spanish Pediatric Association (AEP) calls for the promotion of breastfeeding at work, as it benefits both mother and baby; in addition, this measure reduces absenteeism, Facilitates return to work after sick leave and improves performance in lactating women.

According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, more than 500 million working women do not benefit from basic maternity protections: only 20 percent of countries require companies to provide workers with paid breaks and facilities to breastfeed or express milk, and less than half of children demanded that companies provide workers with paid breaks and breastfeeding facilities. Exclusive breastfeeding under 6 months. That’s why World Breastfeeding Week 2023 will be commemorating breastfeeding and work with the slogan “Breastfeeding and working: let’s make it possible!”.

“Many women want to breastfeed for an extended period of time after maternity leave (16 weeks in Spain is well below the six months of exclusive breastfeeding recommended by the World Health Organization and UNICEF) and therefore need to combine breastfeeding with work, said Dr. Susana Ares Segura, Breastfeeding Field Coordinator, Nutrition and Breastfeeding Committee (CNYLM-AEP), Spanish Pediatric Association.

“Breastfeeding has very important benefits for both mother and baby, and all social factors surrounding mother and child (partner, family, health personnel, work environment, etc.) should provide facilities to maintain breastfeeding and prolong breastfeeding throughout the process Feeding time. Necessary time”, notes the pediatrician.

Their recommendations to companies in the CNYLM-AEP breastfeeding space include providing breaks so mothers can breastfeed their children or extract breast milk; having sufficient, private and dignified space to do so; promoting other practices that make breastfeeding and work compatible options, such as flexible schedules, part-time or remote work; and inform pregnant mothers and other employees that the company has a policy to support breastfeeding.

Benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby

The benefits of breastfeeding for infants are as follows: it favors their sensory and cognitive development, it protects them from infectious and chronic diseases common in childhood, such as diarrhoea, otitis media or pneumonia, and, due to the transfer of antibodies, helps Heal faster. Mother.

In addition, breastfeeding initiated within the first hour of birth protects newborns from infection and reduces neonatal mortality; provides the quality and quantity of nutrients needed for proper growth and development. In addition, it contains beneficial bacteria necessary for digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Likewise, adolescents and adults who were breastfed as children were less likely to be overweight, hypertensive, or obese. Breastfeeding, in addition to being food, can also provide pain relief, for example during vaccinations.

Breastfeeding, on the other hand, builds and strengthens the mother-child bond because oxytocin levels increase each time a mother breastfeeds.

It may also reduce symptoms of postpartum depression and improve blood pressure. When breastfeeding, oxytocin can help a mother achieve better basal, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure, and may even increase her pain threshold and promote a sense of well-being.

Likewise, it favors uterine contractions and prevents bleeding. Breastfeeding early helps the uterus to contract faster. This facilitates the expulsion of the placenta and prevents the mother from bleeding excessively after childbirth.

Skin-to-skin contact with infants as early as possible after birth is therefore important to facilitate breastfeeding in the first postpartum hour, a defining moment for both mother and infant.

In the days after delivery, the oxytocin produced during lactation can reduce the chances of developing iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss. In addition, breastfeeding reduces the lifetime risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Women who breastfeed therefore have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, which is why the American Heart Association recommends maintaining breastfeeding until at least one year of age if possible, taking into account the risk reduction of a little more (3% every six months) to 4%).

Altogether, this practice reduces the risk of cancer. Specifically, each additional month of breastfeeding also lowered the risk of different types of cancer, including breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. Breastfeeding helps to lose weight gained during pregnancy more quickly.

In addition to the important benefits to the health and well-being of mothers and babies, breastfeeding also means significant savings for families and significant environmental benefits for the planet.

For all these reasons, both the World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend starting breastfeeding early (within the first hour of life), maintaining exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, and continuing until 2 years of age or above. Complementary food is introduced from 6 months.

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