World Breastfeeding Week
Creating a unified voice by ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’
Beginning immediately after the delivery of the baby, breastfeeding is the natural process of providing young infants with the necessary nutrition that they need in order to grow and develop in a healthy manner.
The process of secretion milk from the mother is known as lactation. Lactation describes the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and the period of time that a mother lactates to feed her child. The first milk a breastfed baby received is called ‘Colostrum’. A woman’s body produces colostrum during the time of pregnancy, continuing through the early days of breastfeeding. Colostrum is a yellow colour milk that is the perfect first nutrition for a baby. It is rather low in volume when compared to the milk that is produced in the later stages, however this aids in providing concentrated nutrition for the baby. Colostrum is secreted in the first two days if the pregnancy and are the best immune boosters for the baby.
As per the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for all infants until six months of age.
Breast milk is the best form of milk for your baby. In addition to containing all the essential nutrients required for the baby’s development, breast milk also acts as a natural vaccine and protects the baby from various illnesses.
There are several proven health benefits of breastfeeding. However, women need to be made aware of the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and the baby, in order to guide them to continue breastfeeding until the child is 6 months. Here is a list of few of the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and the child.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother
- Less blood loss following delivery.
- Better uterus shrinkage.
- Helps to shed the extra weight gained during pregnancy.
- Less chances of suffering from postpartum depression.
- Breastfeeding delays the return of menstruation and fertility.
- Breastfeeding is often less expensive than infant formula.
The long term benefits of breastfeeding includes, decreased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the child
- Builds immunity. Prevents the risk of many life threatening diseases.
- Helps establish a strong bond between the mother and the child, breast feeding helps to enhance strong emotional and physical bond between them. It aids in the child feeling safe.
- Greatly reduces the chances of colic pain.
- Eliminates the probability of developing infectious diarrhea.
Breastfeeding is the first step that establishes a bond between the mother and child, however every mother has a different breastfeeding experience, which can sometimes be challenging. In order to celebrate and encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies all around the world, World Breastfeeding Week is annually celebrated from 1st August-7th August. Every year the World Breastfeeding Week goes by a theme and the theme for this year is ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’.
Each one of us needs to be a supporter of breastfeeding and must encourage the practice as breastfeeding is the optimal way of feeding infants. Breastfeeding is a vital part of sustainable development as it it’s a global contributor of the health and well-being of infants and mothers. This year’s theme reminds us that all of us have an equal role to play in creating an environment suitable for women to breastfeed successfully by creating a warm chain of support for breastfeeding. All mothers will then be empowered with a satisfying and effective breastfeeding experience.