World Breastfeeding Week 2018- Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Week 2018
August 1st to 7th marks World Breastfeeding Week 2018 an annual event organized by The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) celebrated every year to encourage and support breastfeeding in an effort to improve the health of babies around the world.
Breastmilk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat everything your baby needs to grow and it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mother and Baby
- Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants, providing all the nutrients they need for healthy development, including antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide.
- Breastfeeding burns extra calories so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.
- Skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast both help to stimulate the production of breastmilk, including colostrum, also called the baby’s ‘first vaccine,’ which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.
- Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.
- Breast milk can provide half or more of a child’s energy needs between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and one-third of energy needs between 12 and 24 months. It is also a critical source of energy and nutrients during illness.
- Exclusive breastfeeding can also benefit mums, reducing the risks of breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression.
- Due to its hormonal effect, breastfeeding is also associated with a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control known as the Lactation Amenorrhea Method, which gives 98% protection in the first six months after birth and can help space pregnancies.
- Some studies have shown that breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies.
- Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.
ABCs of Breastfeeding
A = Awareness. Watch for your baby’s signs of hunger, and breastfeed whenever your baby is hungry. This is called “on demand” feeding. The first few weeks, you may be nursing eight to 12 times every 24 hours. Hungry infants move their hands toward their mouths, make sucking noises or mouth movements, or move toward your breast. Don’t wait for your baby to cry. That’s a sign he’s too hungry.
B = Be patient. Breastfeed as long as your baby wants to nurse each time. Don’t hurry your infant through feedings. Infants typically breastfeed for 10 to 20 minutes on each breast.
C = Comfort. This is key. Relax while breastfeeding, and your milk is more likely to “let down” and flow. Get yourself comfortable with pillows as needed to support your arms, head, and neck, and a footrest to support your feet and legs before you begin to breastfeed.