Skip to content
Our Cambridge clinic is now open. Book now!
Our Cambridge clinic is now open. Book now!
A woman breastfeeding a newborn baby

Breastfeeding Health: Key Biomarkers for Postpartum Prosperity

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.

What Is World Breastfeeding Week?

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.

Why Is It Needed?

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.

The Effects of Breastfeeding on Mothers’ Health

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:

  • Mental health benefits: Breastfeeding can foster a strong emotional bond between mother and baby, which can contribute to reduced stress levels and lower rates of postpartum depression. However, postnatal depression is a complex condition, and breastfeeding is just one of many factors that can influence its development. It's important to note that breastfeeding mothers can still experience postpartum depression, and such conditions should be promptly addressed with healthcare providers.

Best Biomarkers to Monitor for Breastfeeding Health 

Prolactin: The Milk-Making Marvel

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. 

VIEW TEST

TSH, T3, T4: The Thyroid Trio

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.

VIEW TEST

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

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.

VIEW TEST

Iron: The Vitality-Boosting Element

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.

VIEW TEST

 

Folate & Vitamin B12: The Recovery Duo

 

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.

 

VIEW TEST

Blood Glucose: The Energy Equilibrium

 

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.

 

VIEW TEST

Calcium: The Bone-Building Mineral

 

Calcium is critical for bone health. As lactation can affect bone density, ensuring adequate calcium levels helps safeguard your skeletal health.

 

VIEW TEST

How One Day Tests Can Support Your Breastfeeding 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.

Get Extra Support With Postpartum Health Tracking

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, hello@onedaytests.com, 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.

Previous article Dr Mike Forsythe on Apolipoproteins and Refining your Cardiovascular Risk
Next article What is Pre-Diabetes?

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields