What is the purpose of World Breastfeeding Week?
Every year, WBD is celebrated in the first week of August. It is observed globally to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and its benefits. Its main aim is to support and encourage breastfeeding as a vital aspect of health and well-being for both mother and child.
Breastfeeding fosters a strong maternal-infant bond, while also reducing the risk of infections (such as bowel infections, respiratory infections), childhood obesity, eczema, and type 2 diabetes in infants. Moreover, breastfeeding’s immunoglobulins enhance a baby’s immunity and potentially lead to better dental health and fewer bowel issues during school years. Breastfed children also exhibit higher psychological confidence compared to those who are bottle-fed or nanny-fed,” she further added.
Benefits Of Breast Milk A Mother Should Know
- Uterine Contractions: When the baby suckles and swallows, it triggers signals that cause contractions in the uterus. This helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size, reducing post-delivery blood loss.
- Stress Relief: Breastfeeding provides psychological support for mothers, leading to the release of oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’. This hormone reduces stress, aiding in post-delivery relaxation.
- Weight Loss: Breastfeeding utilizes calories from the mother’s body to nourish the baby. This contributes to gradual weight loss for the mother, helping her shed the weight gained during pregnancy.
- Cost-effective and Convenient: Breastfeeding is a cost-free, safe, and time-saving method of nourishing the baby, as it does not require any financial investment or complicated preparation.
In addition to the benefits for mothers, breast milk also provides essential advantages for babies –
- Immunity Boost: The initial breast milk, known as colostrum, is rich in antibodies and immune factors. It acts as the baby’s first vaccination, building immunity.
- Growth Factors: Breast milk contains growth factors that aid in the development of the baby’s immune, brain, respiratory system, and Intestine. This fosters a stronger immune system, reduces the risk of infections, and lowers the chances of allergies and other health issues like diarrhea in the future.
- Nutrition: Breastmilk contains all nutritional factors in an appropriate amount that the baby required for his physical growth.
- Psychological Support: Breastfeeding like a mother gives the baby also psychological support and safety that is helpful for his mental growth.
Facts Related To Breast Milk:
Dietician Garima Goyal threw light on some facts related to breast milk and said, “Breast milk is a magic potion for the newborn as it is a source of live immunity bor the baby – both immediate and lifelong immunity. Most mothers don’t know this but breastfeeding keeps their kid away from many infections.”
She also mentioned some other important facts related to breast milk:
- Breastfeeding is the only source of nutrition for an infant for the first six months of his life. An infant obtains all the macronutrients as well as micronutrients from the mother’s milk, thus lactating women should take extra care of their diet as it has to nourish another human being.
- Mothers need to take extra care of nutrition as this is the time they need the best nutrition amongst different stages of life cycles may it be their teenage, old age, middle age etc. So having nutrient-dense meals throughout the day will not only improve the milk quality but also help the body to recover postpartum.
- You don’t need to worry if your child is getting enough milk because breast milk contains everything the baby needs for the first 6 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.
- Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months allows the baby to feel close to their moms. They feel the same warmth of the womb in their mother’s lap. Hearing the mother’s heartbeat and feeling her warm skin will help her transition from the inner world to the outer world.
- Breast milk also contains a polyunsaturated fatty acid namely docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which aids in brain development.
- Even mothers can lose weight by breastfeeding as their body uses almost 400-500 calories daily while feeding their infant and their metabolism is also high.
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