“Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”
In the initiation of WHO and UNICEF, WORLD Breastfeeding Week was declared to be celebrated each year across the world in the first week of August from August 1 to August 7 each year. It is celebrated every year all over the world to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the globe.
Breastfeeding is a nature gift, from a mother to her baby. It is said that breastmilk is the best for the health of babies. The basic food of infant is mother’s milk. Breastfeeding not only just connects mother and her child and creates a special bond naturally, but also supports the growth and development of newborns. But in recent days we see the tendency of substitute products. The natural means of infant feeding, mother’s milk is being replaced by chemical products, which insures to give the same amount of nutrition, but is not true. This is why breastfeeding deserves encouragement from all concerned departments working for the welfare of children.
It has high nutritive value. Breast milk contains all the nutrients in the right proportion which are needed for optimum growth and development of baby up to 4 to 6 months. It is essential for brain growth of infant because it has high percentage of lactose and galactose. It helps in absorption of calcium and serves in neural and immunological processes. Also promote the growth of bifid bacteria in the gut and may play a life-long role in countering the aging-associated decline of some immune functions. It has vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and water in the right proportion for the newborn. Breast milk is easily digestible. Breast milk contains antibodies so breastfed babies are less likely to develop infections especially gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhea and respiratory tract infections. It also provides against malaria and various viral and bacterial infections. It also protects the infant from allergy and bronchial asthma. Exclusively breast fed baby has less chance of developing malnutrition, heart disease, liver disease and dental caries.
Breastfeeding also has psychological benefits. It promotes close physical and emotional bond with the mother by frequent skin to skin contact, attention and interaction. Breastfeeding also promotes development of higher intelligence and feeling of security in infant.
For the first six months of age, breast milk is the best and the most adequate food for the toddlers. Solid food should not be given because their digestive system is not well developed to digest solid food. Exclusive breastfeeding should be provided up to first six months and complementary feedings should be provided after six months of age. Complementary foods include sarbottam patho, cerelac, smashed rice and vegetables, lito and so on.
So in this breastfeeding week let’s share this message with all and promote breastfeeding for the babies.
– Shikha Lamsal