New moms may be better able to return to their pre-pregnancy weight by exclusively breastfeeding their infants, according to new research from the University of Georgia.
In this study, scientists compared pre-pregnancy and at-delivery weight, with weight at 12 weeks after delivery, among 24 mothers, aged 19 to 42 years. Seventeen of these new moms exclusively breastfed their infants, while 9 mothers mixed-fed their infants using formula or a combination of formula and breast milk.
During the first four weeks after giving birth, mothers who used formula and breast milk to feed their babies lost more of their at-delivery weight than did mothers who exclusively breastfed.
However, when they're babies were two to three months old, this trend reversed - the mothers who exclusively breastfed lost more weight than the mothers who fed their infants a formula as well as breast milk.
Prolonged breastfeeding has numerous benefits for both the mother and child. Studies have shown that breastfed children have the advantage over formula-fed babies because of many components in mother's milk, such as the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
Paediatricians and nutrition experts advise new mothers to exclusively breastfeed for at least six months, at which time iron-fortified rice cereal can introduced gradually.
For more advice on how to nourish a new baby and a new mother, check out Leslie Beck's Nutrition for Health Pregnancy or consider personal consultation with Canada's leading nutritionist.
This study was published online in the August 2008 edition International Breastfeeding Journal.
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