SCOTTISH health chiefs are urging Borders mums to breastfeed their babies.
It’s part of a feedgood factor campaign that is promoting the benefits of breastfeeding during a baby’s first six months.
Experts say there is a wealth of research that shows the benefits of breastfeeding last into childhood and beyond. Whilst the greatest benefits are gained by feeding breast milk exclusively for the first six months, any period of breastfeeding, however short, will benefit both mother and baby.
A Holyrood health spokesman commented: “Breast milk provides optimum nutrition, changing according to the baby’s needs and stimulating their immune system. It really is the perfect food for a baby.
“Antibodies in breast milk help babies to fight common infections, allergies and diabetes. It gives babies all the nutrients they need for the first six months of life and helps protect them from infection and diseases, such as ear infections, gastro-intestinal infections, chest infections, childhood diabetes and obesity.”
Experts say that skin to skin contact keeps a baby calm, warm and comforted, steadies the baby’s heartbeat and breathing, and helps get feeding under way, as well as providing an emotional bond.
The spokesman added: “Breastfeeding helps new mums burn calories, up to 500 a day, and may help them lose their baby weight. During pregnancy, the body lays down fat stores in preparation for feeding; if mums breastfeed, they use them up, helping avoid long-term health risks linked to being overweight, such as diabetes and heart disease. It also can help reduce the chances of women getting diseases such as ovarian cancer, breast cancer or weak bones later in life.”
There are a number of breastfeeding support groups run by a trained midwife or health visitor.
To find out more or to find a local breastfeeding support group visit http://www.feedgoodfactor.org.uk/ or call 0300 100 0212