- 8 months ago
- 0 Comments
- Maternal and child
“Why should I subject myself to the torture, inconvenience, and pains of breastfeeding my child for 4-6 whole months? Is it really worth it, to go through all that stress of nipple pain, engorged breast, and mastitis?”
These statements are made by some women who believe that exclusive breastfeeding has little or no benefits, and of course, aesthetic reasons which involves keeping their shape together with the aim of always looking hot and sexy for their self and partners.
What is Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is when a mother feeds her baby with breast milk, usually directly from the breast. However, it can be expressed to be given through a feeding bottle. Exclusive breastfeeding is the recommended act of breastfeeding an infant within the first 4-6 months of life, without any other form of fluid or water. According to WHO, 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.
Breast milk is the ideal food for infants, it contains the essential nutritional values at their various adequate proportions. Breast milk also contains antibodies that help to protect the child against common childhood diseases. Breast milk is readily available and accessible. It is the best food to give a child to ensure proper development of the brain and body, unless in rare cases.
WHO and UNICEF recommend that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life—meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water. The only thing that can be taken alongside the breast milk is prescribed medications from the doctor.
Furthermore, infants should be breastfed on demand—that is, as often as the child wants, day and night. It is usually every 2-3 hours, and the interval may increase gradually as the child grows.
Why is Breastfeeding Important?
Here are some of the reasons why you should advocate for exclusive breastfeeding, whether you just put to bed or know someone who is about to:
- Breast milk contains just the right amount of nutrients for infants, proving to be great for brain growth and nervous system development, especially for premature babies.
- Breast milk is a strong illness-inhibiting food; it helps to strengthen the infant’s immune system and prevent harmful bacteria growth.
- The mother is not left out as she gets to enjoy bonding, burns calories while breastfeeding, as well as a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, even diabetes, later in life.