It’s World Breastfeeding Week! Observed in more than 120 countries every year from 1 to 7 August, the initiative aims at creating awareness about the importance of breastfeeding, especially exclusively for the first six months of the baby’s life, for the health of both mother and baby. This practice is said to provide vital nutrients, protection from deadly diseases including pneumonia, and also boosts the baby’s growth and development. This move to inspire a global breastfeeding culture is organized by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF, with the very first edition in 1991.

Many medical experts strongly recommend exclusive breastfeeding from the initial 24 hours after giving birth, right up to when the baby is half-year-old, with no other liquid – be it water, juice, or any formula. Babies that have this experience have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and fits of diarrhea. Nursing mothers are equally encouraged to continue till when baby is one year old, even with the introduction of other foods.

Here are some other benefits of breastfeeding for your baby:  

For the Baby

  • Breast milk is no ordinary food; it is the perfect meal for your baby with a rich blend of vitamins, protein, and fat, which are all things your baby needs for their growth. These nutrients are present in breast milk in a way that it is easily absorbed and digested.
  • Breastmilk contains millions of live cells; it contains antibodies that help your baby fight off bacteria.
  • It lowers your baby’s risk of having allergies, and asthma.
  • Some studies link breastfeeding to higher IQ scores in later childhood
  • It creates a bond between mother and baby – physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact are all contributing factors.

For the Mother

  • Breastfeeding burns calories, helping the mother to quickly lose postpartum weight.
  • It releases oxytocin from the brain, which shrinks the uterus causing it to return to its pre-pregnancy size.
  • The baby’s sucking causes uterine contractions, and this reduces uterine bleeding after birth.
  • Studies reveal that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • It saves time, energy, and money – there are no formulas to buy and no warm bottles to sterilize.
  • It allows the mother to relax and have some “me-time” with the baby

By FabAfriq Editor

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