Breast feeding is the most natural way to provide young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. With the correct information and support from family and health care professional, most mothers can breastfeed their child but the duration largely comes down to personal choice . WHO (World health organisation) recommend mothers to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six month of life to achieve optimal growth ,development ,and health, thereafter they should be given nutritious complementary food and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two or beyond. WHO,Jan 15th 2011.
What Is Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding also known as nursing is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman’s breast. This process should begin within the first hour of baby’s life and continue as often and as much as the baby wants. Breastfeeding have a large range of benefits that not only support healthy development but make life easier for mum too.
Benefit To Infant/Young Child
Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infant, it has almost a perfect mix of vitamins, protein, fats,and everything the baby needs to grow. It is provided in a form most easily digested. It helps in child’s immunity as it contains antibodies that help babies fight viruses and bacteria. It lowers baby’s risk of having respiratory illnesses (asthma), allergy, ear infection, and bout of diarrhoea.
Breastfeed infants have fewer hospitalisation and trips to the Doctor. Breastfeeding have been linked to higher IQ score in later childhood in some studies.
It helps baby bond with you(mother) and feel secure (skin to skin,touching, and eye contact). Breast feed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight. Breast feeding also play a role in prevention of SIDS(sudden infant death syndrome).
Benefit To Mother
Breast feeding helps the mother to loose pregnancy weight faster as it burn extra calories .With the help of oxytocin released during breastfeeding, the uterus returns to its pre -pregnancy size. It also reduce uterine bleeding after birth. It lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It lower the risk of osteoporosis too. It saves you time and money as you don’t have to buy and measure formula, sterilise nipple or warm bottles, is readily available. Therefore because of the aforementioned benefit, even if you cannot breastfeed for 6(six)months, it is better to breastfeed for a short while than not to breastfeed at all. However, for the above to be fully achieved, mothers personal hygiene is of Paramount important. More so, mothers feeding must be adequate..