Importance of breastfeeding

  • By Suman Singh

Breastfeeding is a natural act and that is why it is also one of the most beneficial acts for a baby. Breastfeeding provides essential nourishment and is the best food for the baby’s stomach to digest. No matter how many infant formulas enriched with vitamins and minerals you provide to your baby, it can never replicate mother’s milk. As for the mother, there is nothing more joyous than providing your baby with the best start that it can get in the long journey of life. The bond that the mother and the baby share through breastfeeding is one of the most special bonds.

For the first six months, breastfeeding your baby is recommended for all mothers whether they are working or at home. Most working mothers are given leave, whether paid or unpaid, so they must ensure they provide their babies with regular breast milk. Breast milk protects the child against diarrhea, respiratory infections, pneumonia, ear infections, and helps to reduce chronic constipation and colic that the babies are prone to. Research also points to the fact that breastfed babies are immunized and protected against allergies, asthma, sudden death, diabetes, and obesity. They remain much healthier than those babies who are formula fed.

In India, only 41% mothers begin early breastfeeding even though it has so many benefits.

Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies help them to survive better. They also gift them with better brain development and these babies are likely to perform well intellectually. No matter which economic section of society the mother comes from, she can provide her baby with the best start in life by breastfeeding it and make sure that the child develops to its full potential. Breastfeeding is natural, simple, and cost-effective way to ensure your baby is healthy and continues to develop healthily.

Since the breastfeeding campaign began on a large scale, child mortality has decreased. Immediate breastfeeding within one hour of birth has helped to significantly reduce sudden baby deaths. The colostrum, the first thick yellow breast milk is what protects babies from many diseases as it is filled with goodness. Lack of nutrition or malnutrition is another aspect that leads to infant deaths. Breastfeeding can significantly lower infant deaths from malnutrition as the mother’s milk is one of the most nutritious foods provided by nature for the baby’s healthy growth. A mother has the full ability to provide adequate nutrition for the baby, therefore breastfeeding needs to be encouraged fully.

Employers need to create an appropriate space within their premises and should encourage new mothers to breastfeed their child.

Breastfeeding also has a number of benefits for the mother. It helps to burn calories and the mother can return to her former pre-pregnancy state. Breastfeeding helps mothers to reduce their risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer;high blood pressure;diabetes; and heart diseases. So for the first six months, mothers must make sure to breastfeed their baby and do not substitute it with baby food products.


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