Breastfeeding is important  

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from 1-7 August every year to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

The importance of breastfeeding cannot be underestimated as researches over the years have concluded its numerous benefits.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the mother’s body is ready to feed the baby from the moment of birth. Colostrum, the first milk, is yellow and thick. It does not have much water in it, so the baby needs a very small amount of it.

During breastfeeding, both mother and baby produce oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress and anxiety and makes both feel connected. Breastfeeding supports the development of the healthy gut bacteria in the baby, setting them up with a healthy immune system for life. It contains antibodies that are tailored to help the baby fight infections circulating in the environment.

The babies usually breastfeed very frequently in the first few days of birth and it makes the mother’s body to make more milk.

The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. The history of this week-long commemoration dates back to the 1990s when the WHO and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) created the Innocenti Declaration to promote and support breastfeeding. Later in 1991, to execute UNICEF and WHO’s goals, an association was formed called the World Association of Breastfeeding Action (WABA). In 1992, a whole week was dedicated to promote this campaign and since then it is organized annually.

WABA coordinates the global World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) campaign that aims to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action on breastfeeding and related issues.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, the benefits of breastfeeding in babies are many: “it helps boost the immune system of the infant, lowers the infant mortality rate, lowers the risk of developing infections such as respiratory tract infections, diabetes, allergic diseases, and childhood leukaemia.” It also helps enhance the cognitive function of the baby. Additionally, the milk is extremely nutritious and healthy for the baby and can help the baby develop a healthy weight. It is thus important to create more and more awareness to encourage mothers not to stop breastfeeding. Issues that normally force a woman including psychological, physical discomfort and inconvenience to turn to a bottle of formula need to be addressed by all the concerned. The woman must be given all support to breastfeed the baby.

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