World Breastfeeding Week is finally here, and we’ve rounded up some breastfeeding news to celebrate! Every year, new discoveries come to light about the wealth of benefits breastfeeding offers for both moms and babies. As our society continues to evolve and accept breastfeeding for the positive, empowering act that it is, scientists and parents alike find new ways to celebrate it. Here are a few tidbits about breastfeeding that you may not have come across in your news feed:
Breastfeeding can help babies tell time!
Recent studies have revealed that the changing composition of breastmilk during the day (with different hormones and other “ingredients” between morning and evening) may help babies start regulating their circadian rhythms, which help distinguish day from night. Scientists also theorize that babies who are bottle-fed instead of breastfed— receiving milk that is stored in advance rather than given to them throughout the day— may end up with abnormal circadian rhythms because they may be ingesting evening hormones in the morning (and vice versa). Read about it here.
Breastfeeding and COVID-19
The World Health Organization and UNICEF are both encouraging women to continue to breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic, in opposition to many countries’ aggressively marketing harmful formula products. These organizations emphasize that women should still breastfeed even if they have COVID-19, as it is highly unlikely that the virus can be passed through breastmilk and the innumerable benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh any potential risk. Furthermore, the antibodies that babies receive from their moms through breastmilk strengthen their immunity against man y common childhood illnesses, which means that babies who breastfeed will have immune systems that are overall better-equipped to fend off COVID-19. This article provides more details.
Check out this link to see a video UNICEF created on breastfeeding during COVID-19.
Breastfeeding behind closed doors
Even in 2020, breastfeeding remains a stigmatized act that prevents new mothers from feeling comfortable feeding their babies wherever and whenever they need to. A UK-based photographer created a series called Milk in which she photographed mothers feeding their babies. This series is a valuable contribution to the movement that aims to normalize breastfeeding and show its intimacy. Check out the photo series here.
Photo by Sophie Harris-Taylor
Exercise during pregnancy makes breastmilk healthier!
A study at Ohio State University found that moderate exercise during pregnancy increases a certain compound in breastmilk that reduces babies’ risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. This study provides even more evidence in favor of the benefits of breastmilk and breastfeeding, as well as further information about the importance of staying active! Read all about it here.
Did we miss any essential stories? Drop your breastfeeding news in the comments below!