Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat, PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) – everything your baby needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
What are the Objectives?
> To increase awareness about breast feeding.
> To educate about the benefits of breast feeding.
> To educate about the basics of breast feeding.
> To educate about the harms associated with formula feeding.
World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1 to 7 in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is six months old. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond.
Breastfed babies have variable feeding routines:
Babies may have 8 or more feeds in 24 hours – this does not mean that the mother doesn’t have enough milk. The volume of milk mothers can store in their breasts at any given time will influence how many feeds a baby needs in 24 hours. Babies will have some short feeds and some long feeds – this is normal. Sometimes the baby will take milk from one breast and as the baby grows they will use both breasts.
Mothers have more available milk in their breasts in the morning and less in the afternoon which makes babies cluster feed at the end of the day – this doesn’t mean that the mother doesn’t have enough milk. Babies get a majority of their fluid needs from the first part, of the breastfeed which means they sometimes have a short feed to get a drink of water. The amount of water in a feed changes depending on how hot the day is. The breast will add more water during hotter months.
Why breastfeeding is important?
When you choose to breastfeed, you make an investment in your baby’s future. Breastfeeding allows you to make the food that is perfect for your baby. Your milk gives your baby the healthy start that will last a lifetime. Breastfeeding is normal and healthy for infants and mothers. Breast milk has hormones and disease- fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs and illness. This protection is unique and changes to meet your baby’s needs.
· Breastfeeding offers essential nutrients and a nutritionally balanced meal.
· Breast milk is easy to digest.
· Fights & Protects against common respiratory and intestinal diseases.
· Protects your baby.
· Benefits mother’s health, makes mother’s life easier.
Your breast milk helps your baby grow healthy and strong from day one.
Your first milk is liquid gold.
Called liquid gold for its deep yellow color, colostrum is the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Colostrum also helps your newborn infant’s digestive system to grow and function. Your baby gets only a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, because the stomach of a newborn infant is tiny and can hold only a small amount.
Are There Breastfeeding Benefits for the Mother?
Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size(return to normal) and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast(pre-menopausal breast cancer) and ovarian cancer. It may lower your risk of osteoporosis, Diabetes mellitus.
The experience of breastfeeding is special for so many reasons, including:
Psychological feelings such as attachment, bonding, security, skin to skin, fulfilment of basic needs, relationship, the joyful closeness and bonding with your baby, and cost savings, health benefits for you and your baby.
Life can be easier for you when you breastfeed.
Breastfeeding may seem like it takes a little more effort than formula-feeding at first. But breastfeeding can make your life easier once you and your baby settle into a good routine. When you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. You do not have to buy, measure, and mix formula. And there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night! When you breastfeed, you can satisfy your baby’s hunger right away.
Breastfeeding saves money.
Formula and feeding supplies can cost well over $1,500 each year. Breastfed babies may also be sick less often, which can help keep your baby’s health costs lower.
Breastfeeding keeps mother and baby close.
Physical contact is important to newborns. It helps them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers also benefit from this closeness. The skin-to-skin contact boosts your oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps breast milk flow and can calm the mother.
Since you don’t have to buy and measure formula, sterilize nipples, or warm bottles, it saves you time and money. It also gives you regular time to relax quietly with your newborn as you bond.