World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to 7 to create public awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.
August 6: Breastfeeding is one of the most crucial aspects of motherhood, and many new moms struggle with its nuances. Whether it’s good to breastfeed the newborn, what’s the right way to do so, how frequent it should be, whether the baby is adequately fed or not, is the breast milk enough for the newborn are some of the most common questions that may keep new moms awake at night.
As a mom, it’s common to stay worried about the baby’s nutrition levels. One might be sceptical about whether her breast milk is enough for her baby or not. Complete with all nutritional compounds, breast milk is known to promote a healthy weight in babies.
Breastfed babies are likely to develop healthy feeding patterns and are less prone to childhood obesity. Breast milk contains leptin, an essential hormone that regulates appetite and fat storage in newborns.
Besides, several studies indicate that breastfed babies have better IQ and are less likely to develop behavioural problems as they develop quite an emotional bond with their moms during the feeding sessions.
Even our ancient literature and Ayurvedic texts underscore the importance of breastfeeding. Modern medicine has also confirmed the many physical and cognitive benefits of breastfeeding.
Doctors say breastfeeding guarantees a safe, nutritious, and accessible food source for infants and young children and offer powerful protection against diseases and all forms of child malnutrition.
“Breastfeeding is the best possible start to life, and every child must be breastfed within one hour of birth. The mother’s milk is most nutritious and crucial to a baby’s early growth, and breastfeeding should be continued as long as the baby needs it. Beyond the physical benefits such as improved health and lower risk of infant mortality, breastfeeding also strengthens the bond between the mother and baby,” said Dr. Ashwini Annam, senior obstetrician and gynaecologist at Sravani Hospitals in Hyderabad.
According to Dr. Ashwini Annam, mother’s milk is rich in lactose and enhances the growth of lactobacilli in the intestine. Moreover, breastfeeding can also lower the risk of some childhood cancers. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer among mothers.
“Moreover, breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin in the mother’s body, which helps the uterus to contract and return to normal size quickly, which is also a huge healing step for the mother,” she explained.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in more than 170 countries from August 1 to 7 to promote and support breastfeeding. It has been held every year since 1992. The theme for the week this year is “Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support”, and various events are organized during the week to raise public awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Dr. Naveen Chettupalli, Pediatrician & Managing Director of Sravani Hospitals, said that breastfeeding also helps improve cognitive development, and the chances of breastfed children being overweight in adulthood are significantly lower. Newborns are susceptible to a wide range of health ailments as their immunity usually runs low, and their body organs are yet to grow to perfection. Studies cite that breastfeeding helps newborns less susceptible to middle ear infections, common colds, cough, respiratory infections, intestinal tissue damage, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), allergies, infant diabetes, childhood leukaemia, and bowel diseases.
“Mother’s milk has 88% water content, and breastfeeding is enough to meet the baby’s water needs for six months. The health benefits are numerous. Breastfeeding is also cost-effective. Promoting and supporting breastfeeding is more important than ever for the survival and growth of lakhs of infants around India and the world. We must support awareness and the importance of breastfeeding,” said Dr. Naveen Chettupalli, Sravani Hospitals, Madhapur.
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