Surjen wishes all nursing mothers a Happy Breastfeeding Week. The month of August has been slated for marking breastfeeding. It runs for a duration of 7 days from the 1st to the 7th of August every year. That being said, why do we celebrate Breastfeeding? It is marked to highlight the importance of breastfeeding, to encourage and promote breastfeeding, and to improve the health of babies as well as moms. Yeah, mothers get to keep wins for breastfeeding their infants.
What do we know
Medically, the importance of breastfeeding can’t be over emphasized. It is written in gold that exclusive breastfeeding for 6months is the gold standard.
We know that some have concluded what to feed the baby (s) and how long they should keep breastfeeding before they stop. Some do not get it right. Hence the reason we will be stating facts from reliable health government policy regulators.
We also know that breastfeeding benefits both mother and child.
This article will focus on some of these aforementioned concerns. It will try to correct certain notions about breastfeeding and promote breastfeeding among nursing mothers.
What is breastfeeding?
Simply put, it is the process of feeding human milk to a child. According to World Health Organization; “Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. However, nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months—a rate that has not improved in 2 decades.”
To breastfeed or not
As it has been established earlier, the decision to breastfeed or not is up to you as a mother. However, we must establish that the needed nutrients for the proper development of a child (especially the brain) are contained in the milk a nursing mother produces. The antibodies which a child’s system needs to prevent illness are naturally present in breast milk. As such, it is the perfect food for infants and nothing can substitute the need for it. All needed nutritional values for children are contained in the milk.
When do you start breastfeeding and for how long?
Preferably & possibly, breastfeeding starts after birth. United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and WHO recommend starting within an hour of birth. Each session of breastfeeding can last for about 10–20 minutes. It could last for as long as 40–45 minutes. The next thing you would be looking up to as a mother is, when do I stop? Duration for breastfeeding should be between 12 months and 16 - 18 months. WHO recommends the latter. However, a minimum of 12 months is encouraged for nursing mothers. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states; “The longer an infant is breastfed, the greater the protection from certain illness and long-term disease.”
What is exclusive breastfeeding?
This is when an infant from birth to 6 months is fed only breast milk. During this period, there is no other food or even clean water fed to the child. All the child needs to stay hydrated and fed is in the milk. WHO also recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years of age or longer.
As a nursing mother, what do you get?
Earlier, it was mentioned that prolonged breastfeeding is good for an infant. The benefits go both ways. According to CDC; “The more months or years a woman breastfeeds (combined breastfeeding of all her children), the greater the benefits to her health as well.” What could be these great health benefits if you were to ask?
Taking care of the breast
You need to treat and safeguard your breast for your sake and that of the child’s health. Breastmilk is safe and clean, no doubt yet about that, but the medium by which it is given can be contaminated or cause discomfort, creating medical problems for the mother and her child. Certain measures can be implemented to avoid such issues and gain comfort while breastfeeding:
For more information or clarification on breastfeeding, you can reach out on 08081111121.