By Dr Neethi Mala Mekala
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Fertility Specialist, Sonologist (Obs & Gynae.) & Medico-legal Consultant
Published on 30/07/2022
Give your newborn a healthy start to life through breastfeeding! While breastfeeding is the most important aspect for new babies and mothers, a delay in breastfeeding can be risky for the baby and, in some cases, can result in infant loss.
Newborns are more vulnerable to infections than older children and adults. So, how can a child be protected from such infections? It is through the mother!
Today, India is on its way to achieving a national breastfeeding rate, with 55% of children under six months exclusively breastfed. While this should be celebrated and as it spreads more awareness as the progress must continue.
Let’s support breastfeeding!
This year on World Breastfeeding Week 2022, the theme is “Step Up For Breastfeeding: Educate and Support” with the aim to raise breastfeeding awareness and to thank new moms for their healthy contributions to national health.
Holding the little one in arms is perhaps the most joyous feeling a mom can ever experience. However, a great sense of responsibility also accompanies. Early nutrition is a key to an infant's lifelong growth and development, and nothing can beat breastfeeding. Let’s understand how breastfeeding benefits both the baby and the mother!
The incredible power of a mother's milk!
Breast milk is the best first food for a baby as it contains all the vital nutrients in the proper proportions. It protects the little ones from various infections, allergies, and diseases.
Do you know? Breast milk is fresh, clean, of the right temperature, making it easy to digest and causing no stomach problems in babies. Moreover, breast milk will change over time to suit the baby's changing needs and gives protection from some illnesses.
As such, there are a lot of other benefits of a mother’s milk to a baby. Some of them are:
Respiratory tract infections:
Breastfeeding safeguards the baby from respiratory diseases.
Middle ear infections:
It protects the baby against the middle ear, throat, and sinus infections
Infections and colds:
Babies who have been breastfed for at least six months may be less prone to infections and colds.
Breastfeeding is associated with good gut health and lower chances of gut infection.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS.
Breastfeeding may reduce the chances of asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema.
It will help the baby to keep diabetes at bay.
Babies who are breastfeeding will be able to prevent leukemia.
Breastfeeding leads to healthy weight gain and prevents childhood obesity.
The baby will be able to avoid bladder infections if he/she is breastfed without fail.
Breastfeeding benefits for mothers:
Breastfeeding has numerous perks, not just for babies but also for their mothers. Here are some health benefits for mothers:
- Helps new mothers lose weight.
- Reduces the chances of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Cut down the risk of type 2 diabetes in later life if the mother had gestational diabetes in pregnancy.
- Helps the mother and the baby to strengthen their bond.
Breastfeeding will save time for mothers as they won’t have to mix formula and clean bottles. So, it is imperative to breastfeed the babies and follow the instructions given by the doctor.
Mother's milk contains a lot of antibodies which acts like a flu shot or vaccine that the infant receives through the mother's body. For a newborn child, there can be nothing better than a mother's milk.
On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week 2022, let’s educate, support, and spread awareness about the importance of breastfeeding!