The Miracle of Breastfeeding: National Breastfeeding Awareness Month
This month of August, we are celebrating the National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The importance of breastfeeding is still being repeatedly reiterated to the general public especially to the mothers and expecting mothers. This is because research provides strong evidence that breastfeeding has specific health advantages both for mother and infants. The American Dietetic Association and American Academy of Pediatrics supports this as well.
Why is breast milk best for babies? Below are the benefits that both moms and babies get from breastfeeding:
1. Breastfeeding protects the baby from a long list of illnesses
A study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reveal that children who are breastfed have a lower risk of dying between ages 28 days and 1 year than children who were not breastfed1. There is this substance called immunoglobulin A (IgA) that guards against invading germs by forming protective layer on the mucus membrane of intestines, nose, and throat of the infant. This IgA is largely present in colostrum, the first milk the mother produces for the baby.
2. Breastfeeding can protect babies from developing allergies
Did you know that babies who are fed with formula based on cow’s milk or soy tend to develop more allergic reactions than breastfed babies? It is the same IgA that helps prevent these allergic reactions to food by providing a layer of protection into the baby’s intestinal tract. Infants who are formula fed don’t develop this layer of protections thus become more vulnerable to inflammation, allergies, and other health issues later in life.
3. Breastfeeding may boost children’s intelligence
Experts say that the emotional bonding between the mother and the baby contributes to brainpower benefits, but it may also be that the fatty acids (e.g long chain polyunsaturated fats such as DHA and ARA) in breast milk play a significant role in a baby’s mental development.
4. Breastfeeding may protect children from obesity
Obesity is not only a problem among adults but also among children. And this early onset of obesity can be traced from non-consumption of breast milk during infancy. Breastfeeding during infancy leads to healthier eating pattern as the baby grows. Also, breast milk contains less insulin than formula. Insulin is a hormone that stimulates the creation of fat. Moreover, breastfed babies have more leptin in their system, a hormone that plays a role in regulating appetite and fat.
5. Breastfeeding may reduce a mother’s stress level and risk of post partum depression
This is because nursing triggers the secretion of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes nurturing and relaxation. Oxytocin also helps in the contraction of uterus after birth which results to less post partum bleeding.
6. Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer for mothers
Several studies have found that the longer mothers breastfed the more they are protected against breast and ovarian cancer. This could be attributed to the fact that lactation suppresses the amount of estrogen a woman’s body produces. Estrogens are implicated in various estrogen-dependent conditions, such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
The nutrients the mother gets during lactation are the same nutrients that will be passed on to the baby. Thus, if a mom drinks alcoholic beverage, this will be transferred to the baby through breastfeeding. That’s why it is equally important to be mindful of what a lactating mother should eat. Always choose the healthy and nutrient-dense food items to ensure that the breast milk produced is of the best quality. Good thing that Gardenia Classic White Bread contains a lot of essential vitamins and minerals a lactating mother needs. It is a high source of vitamin A, and iodine, among other nutrients. Moreover, it’s also enriched with folate which is a nutrient important in DNA synthesis and repair as well as cell and tissue regeneration. So why not prepare a hearty dish that is both delectable and healthy? Try making Gardenia Chicken, Mushroom, and Spinach Pot Pie to nourish every power mom you know.
Gardenia Chicken, Mushroom, and Spinach Pot Pie
6 slices Gardenia Classic White Bread
½ kg chicken breast
½ cup mushroom, sliced
½ cup spinach
2 tbsp mustard
¼ cup sour cream
1 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup spring onions
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white onion
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
- Get a slice of Gardenia Classic White Bread, using a cookie cutter, cut a circle making sure it fits the size of the ramekins that will be used later.
- Heat the pan, sauté chicken season with salt and pepper, white onions, spring onions, sliced mushroom, cook for 5 to 8 minutes, add butter, mustard, sour cream, flour, chicken stock and spinach, stir and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add bread crumbs, season with nutmeg and thyme.
- Transfer into a ramekin or baking dish, cover with the bread, spread butter and egg wash on top.
- Bake for 10 minute at 140 Degree Celsius, remove from oven, and serve while hot.