As we commemorate World Breastfeeding Week 2023, it's the perfect time to shine a spotlight on breastfeeding health. Breastfeeding is a remarkable journey shared by mother and baby. Yet, like any journey, it brings unique challenges along with its profound joys.
For breastfeeding mothers, ensuring optimal health is critical - not just for their well-being, but also for their ability to nourish their newborns effectively.
Here, we’ll give an overview of the health benefits of breastfeeding and introduce key biomarkers that breastfeeding postpartum women can monitor to maintain their health and support their breastfeeding journey.
World Breastfeeding Week is an annual global campaign held in the first week of August, coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). Supported by international organisations like WHO and UNICEF, the campaign advocates for breastfeeding's benefits and its role in child development and maternal health.
Each year revolves around a unique theme, with activities including campaigns, workshops, and community discussions to raise awareness and promote societal support for breastfeeding mothers.
According to a survey of 500 mothers of young children commissioned by Public Health England (PHE), more than half were concerned that breastfeeding could mean they wouldn’t be able to tell if their baby was getting too much or not enough milk. A similar proportion of mums surveyed thought that they might need a special diet to breastfeed. Nearly 3 in 10 worried that breastfeeding could mean their baby might not be getting the right nutrients, indicating why mothers may stop breastfeeding at this early point.
Understanding breastfeeding is more than knowing how to nurse. It's about comprehending its overall impact on a child's and mother's health, recognising its benefits, understanding the changes it brings to a woman's body, and learning how to manage potential challenges. This knowledge can empower mothers to make better-informed health decisions, for themselves and their infants.
It’s important to remember that while breastfeeding does have potential health benefits, it isn't the best choice for every mother. Some women may have health conditions or other considerations that lead them to choose formula feeding, and their choice should always be supported. Mothers should discuss their options and concerns with a healthcare provider to make the best decision for themselves and their babies.
For those mothers who are able to breastfeed, positive health benefits can include:
Prolactin is the star player when it comes to breastfeeding. This hormone stimulates milk production and plays a crucial role in successful breastfeeding. Monitoring prolactin levels helps ensure they are within the appropriate range for breastfeeding, helping to troubleshoot potential feeding difficulties or concerns about milk supply.
Thyroid hormones play a pivotal role in our overall health, affecting everything from metabolism to mood. Postpartum thyroiditis, a condition causing disruptive thyroid hormone fluctuations, can develop after childbirth. By keeping an eye on these key hormones, healthcare providers can diagnose and manage postpartum thyroiditis, preventing potential breastfeeding difficulties and health complications.
Vitamin D is essential for both mother and baby. With breast milk typically low in Vitamin D, supplements are often recommended. Regular testing ensures you're maintaining adequate levels, securing your baby's bone health and bolstering your immune function.
Iron-deficiency anaemia is a common postpartum concern, particularly as many women lose blood during child birth. Checking your iron levels is important to sustain your energy levels, keeping fatigue at bay while you navigate the rewarding, albeit tiring, journey of motherhood.
Postpartum recovery is as crucial as the pregnancy itself. Folate and vitamin B12 aid in recovery while ensuring your baby's developmental health. Monitoring these can help prevent deficiencies that might impact mother and baby.
Blood glucose levels need monitoring to manage gestational diabetes that may persist or develop into type 2 diabetes after delivery. Keeping this balance is crucial for both your health and your breastfeeding journey.
Calcium is critical for bone health. As lactation can affect bone density, ensuring adequate calcium levels helps safeguard your skeletal health.
At One Day Tests, we understand the intricate balance of breastfeeding health and the postpartum journey. Our comprehensive series of blood tests can check not only your prolactin levels but also other key biomarkers vital for postpartum health. Easily done at home, our test kits provide quick, accurate results from our CQC-regulated laboratory, enabling you to take charge of your breastfeeding health journey with confidence.
We streamline your postpartum health monitoring further with our flexible subscription service and innovative Health Dashboard. Our subscription offers discounts on ongoing testing for early detection and management of health issues, smoothing your breastfeeding journey. The online Health Dashboard tool, included free with all our blood tests, provides an understandable analysis of your results, allowing you to track trends, manage risks, and proactively improve your postpartum and breastfeeding health.
Here's to celebrating the incredible journey of breastfeeding and the resilient mothers who make it possible.
Should you have any queries about postpartum health tests or need a bespoke panel to match your unique circumstances, our experienced team is here to assist. Contact us at 0845 527 07 67, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via WhatsApp - we're almost always online!
Our comprehensive in-house lab allows us the versatility to tailor-make panels that cater to your specific postpartum health needs. With One Day Tests, personalised postpartum healthcare is just a call or message away.