10 health benefits of breast feeding for mother and child
Today is the start of World Breastfeeding Week.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organisations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding
According to the World Health Organisation, breastfeeding promotes better health for mothers and children alike. Increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save more than 800 000 lives every year, the majority being children under 6 months.
WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is 6 months old. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond.
Here benefits are of breastfeeding for both mother and baby
Breast milk contains everything the baby needs for the first six months of life, in all the right proportions. Its composition even changes according to the baby’s changing needs, especially during the first month of life.
During the first days after birth, the breasts produce a thick and yellowish fluid called colostrum. It’s high in protein, low in sugar and loaded with beneficial compounds.
Colostrum is the ideal first milk and helps the newborn’s immature digestive tract develop. After the first few days, the breasts start producing larger amounts of milk as the baby’s stomach grows.
Breast milk is loaded with antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
It may reduce baby’s risk of many illnesses and diseases, including:
Middle ear infections, Respiratory tract infections and Colds and infections. Others are Inflammatory bowel disease, Diabetes and Childhood leukemia, amongst others.
Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity.
Studies indicate that breastfed babies have higher intelligence scores and are less likely to develop problems with behavior and learning as they grow older
Breastfeeding helps the uterus contract
Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of depression
Breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It is estimated that increased breastfeeding could avert 20 000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer.
It also saves time and money. Breastfeeding is completely free and requires very little effort.
Culled from www. healthline.com