The World Breast Feeding week is celebrated from 1st of August till the 7th of August towards the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. This year’s slogan for Breast Feeding is ‘Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding’.
Each year there is a particular agenda with which this week is celebrated. This year, WHO has joined hands with UNICEF in order to highlight the importance of policies at the work place that are family friendly, to ensure that the child and the mother can both have a healthy and normal life.
Breast feeding is the stage of motherhood which allows a mother to develop strong bonds with their infants. There is no doubt about the fact that breast milk is loaded with antibodies that naturally immunize a child against many illnesses.
Most health organisation recommend breastfeeding for at least 6 months. Post this; one can start introducing different foods to the child while still continuing breastfeeding. When a baby enters this world, only breast milk has all the nutrients that are needed by the baby. What’s more, the composition of the breast milk continues to change and evolve as the baby’s needs change.
A baby’s digestive track in the initial days is not quite fully developed and thereby it can only digest a thick yellow fluid (known as Colostrum) produced by the breasts, which is high in protein, very low in sugar and loaded with nutrients.
The mother must include a very high amount of Vitamin D in their food intake to ensure that there is enough of it in the breast milk as well. Taking care of the mother’s food habits at this stage is just as important as it is to care for the baby.
An infant is extremely susceptible to various bacterial and viral infections. Mother’s milk is loaded with antibodies and immunoglobulin that can help protect the child from any kind of infection. The moment the mother starts coming in contact with any kind of bacterial or viral infection, the breasts start producing antibodies just like a form of vaccine.
This prevents the child from falling sick or taking on any illness. Mother’s milk essentially lines the baby’s nose, throat and digestive track which helps in protecting them it from any kind of sickness. Any kind of formula available in the market that is popularly used to feed children doesn’t have antibodies for your child’s protection. So, make sure that you always breast feed your baby in those early days.
The longer your child stays exclusively on breastfeeding; there are many risks that can be avoided. Of course, this is true only if the child is exclusively on breast milk and is not introduced to any other supplement or formula.
Breasting children during the time of introducing many different kinds of food items have even proved to reduce the risk of getting various kinds of allergy based diseases like the Celiac. It also prevents serious diseases like Leukaemia or SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Increasing Infant mortality in Tanzania
Tanzania is a wonderful country blessed with strong men and women. However, when it comes to infants, the nation has been suffering steadily over the last few decades. Studies indicate that breastfeeding your infant can reduce mortality.
Breast milk is a powerhouse of nutrients and helps in maintaining ideal body weight for the child. It also ensures that the child is never underfed or falls prey to unforeseen illnesses. Breast milk also prevents ear infections in infants.
Not just for the child, it is also very healthy for the mother to breast feed. 3 months after delivery of the child a breastfeeding mother might experience a less weight loss. In some cases, the mother might even gain a certain amount of weight. However, after the first 3 months, she is likely to experience a solid weight loss.
Most mothers have reported in losing their pregnancy weight steadily right after their initial three months. In fact, apart from losing weight, breast feeding is also associated with a lowered risk of ovarian cancer.
This happens because breast feeding essentially allows the uterus to contract back to its normal shape. It also enables the release of certain hormones like oxytocin which can lower the risk of depression in new mothers.
On the whole, motherhood is a joyful and celebratory experience. Enjoying it responsibly can bring good health to you and your child. Celebrate this world breast feeding day with a promise to continue breast feeding your child for as long as it takes to ensure both the baby and you are healthy. Speak to our top gynaecologists and paediatricians for any query.