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The Importance of Breastfeeding: 6 facts every mother needs to know

There is already a consensus that breastfeeding is an act of love. This is because it goes beyond the mother's emotional care for the child. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding that it prevents illnesses and contributes to the baby's development.

The Prodiet Blog spoke to nurse Marina Yamamoto, coordinator at the Nossa Senhora de Fátima Women's and Maternity Hospital in Curitiba, and came up with 6 important facts about the importance of breastfeeding that every mother needs to know. Check them out!

Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia

"There are studies proving that breast milk has the ability to eliminate cancer cells. Breast milk contains antibodies that positively influence the child's immune development," says Marina. According to the National Cancer Institute (Inca), breastfeeding reduces the risk of childhood leukemia by up to 19%. This is because breast milk contains all the nutrients a child needs to develop well in the first few months of life. And this, consequently, contributes to a healthy body, reducing the chances of infections and preventing diseases such as cancer.

Prevents breast cancer in the mother

In addition to preventing leukemia in babies, breastfeeding also protects the mother. "The explanation for this is that when a woman is breastfeeding, she is no longer affected by the hormones that can cause this type of cancer," explains the coordinator of the Women's Hospital Surgical Center. In more specific terms, this means that the woman's menstrual cycle is interrupted, making her immune to the actions of hormones. The longer you breastfeed, the lower your risk of developing the disease. Data from the Brazilian Society of Mastology (SMB) indicates that the risk decreases by 3% to 4% with each year of breastfeeding.

Breast milk is essential for a baby's intestinal development

Mother's milk contains substances such as calcium, amino acids, iron, lactose, fats and vitamins. In the case of the amino acid glutamate, its role in the development of the immune and intestinal systems of newborn babies is very important. This is because glutamate helps to "alert" the cells that there is an invading microorganism in the body and, consequently, they begin to fight it.

As far as babies are concerned, the concentration of glutamate in breast milk in the first seven days is low, a phase in which it is called colostrum, and allows the intestinal tract to develop in a healthy way. As the days go by, the milk becomes more mature and the concentration of glutamate increases, in line with the child's development. According to Yamamoto, "breast milk contains components that act to defend the infant's body. Natural breastfeeding reduces the likelihood of allergic and gastrointestinal processes," she says.

Breastfeeding in the first hour of life reduces the risk of death in newborns

The nursing coordinator interviewed by the Prodiet Blog compares breastfeeding to "a baby's first vaccine". This makes sense if you consider that "colostrum", as breast milk is called in the first seven days after birth, is a secretion rich in immunoglobulins, antibodies that serve as the first immunization factor for newborns.

After that, as the days go by, the milk becomes stronger and serves as a source of carbohydrates for the child, ensuring a supply of energy, necessary hydration, as well as having iron, proteins, phosphorus and other nutrients.

There is no such thing as "strong milk" or "weak milk"

This is a myth that haunts mothers and is perpetuated among friends and family. But Marina Yamamoto explains that milk is produced "made to measure" for the baby, with the ideal quality and, in some cases, the ideal quantity.

The volume of milk that comes out of the breast is directly linked to the child pulling on the nipple. What often causes confusion is the fact that the mother squeezes her breasts with her hands and little milk comes out. However, this does not mean that there is little production. That's why postpartum monitoring is always important.

Breast milk should be the child's only food until the sixth month of life

When it is said that breast milk should be the exclusive food of the newborn, even water is left out of the child's nutrition. The reason is simple: breastfeeding has all the benefits that little ones need at this stage of life. It is also recommended that when new foods such as baby food, fruit, etc. are introduced, breastfeeding should continue until at least two years of age.


Pregnancy is a period full of doubts, especially for first-time mothers, and having a place to ask questions and exchange experiences, including about breastfeeding, is a great step forward in the search for a safe and healthy pre- and post-natal period for both the baby and the woman.

As in many hospitals, the Hospital da Mulher e Maternidade Nossa Senhora de Fátima has the Abrace Group, made up of a multidisciplinary team that provides guidance to pregnant women and their companions on pregnancy and the first steps after childbirth.

Did you like this content? Share it with your network of friends. Would you like to contribute more information? Comment here on the blog or on our social networks.


Marina Yamamoto. Nurse and Coordinator of the Obstetric Surgical Center at Hospital da Mulher e Maternidade Nossa Senhora de Fátima, in Curitiba.

Breast milk reduces chance of cancer in mother and baby

Breastfeeding: essential for baby's immune and intestinal development

Benefits of breastfeeding for women's and children's health: an essay on the evidence. Health Institute of the São Paulo State Health Department


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