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World Breastfeeding Week: 9 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother and Baby

The world breastfeeding week is being celebrated all over the world

Wellness
| News18 Specials| UPDATED: August 21, 2017, 10:06 AM IST
World Breastfeeding Week: 9 Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother and Baby Representative Image (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Wavebreak/Istock.com)
Since August 1, World Breastfeeding Week which turns 25 this year is being celebrated in over 170 countries and will go on till August 7.

Let’s look into the history of the “World Breastfeeding Week”. The first attempt to promote and support breastfeeding at the global level was done by a group of policymakers at a WHO/UNICEF meet on August 1, 1990 by enacting and adopting a declaration called the “Innocenti Declaration”. The world breastfeeding week is celebrated all over the world to commemorate this “Innocenti Declaration”.

The aim of the “World Breastfeeding Week” is to bring about a positive change by inviting advocates, activists, decision-makers and other key figures in enacting and promoting pro-breastfeeding policies.

Breastfeeding is recommended by zillions and since ages in all cultures because of the benefits it provides to both the baby and the mother. It benefits the child in the following ways –
* The colostrum i.e. the milk that the breasts make in the initial days helps to develop the baby’s digestive system and aid its functioning. It is also seen that breast fed babies have lesser constipation and digestion related problems in comparison to babies that are bottle-fed.
* The anti-bodies in the breast milk help in building the child’s immunity and thus the child runs a lower risk of getting infections, diarrhea, asthma, obesity, allergies, etc.
* It also helps in the initial development of the baby’s brain. However, the cognitive skills and its later effect remain debated.
* The babies who are breast-fed also have low chances of becoming a victim of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), a condition whereby the infant exhibits no signs of suffering but is found dead after being put to bed.

Additionally, breast feeding benefits the mother as well –
* It helps in forming a unique emotional bond between the mother and child and also prevents the incidence of post delivery depression.
* Its available at your disposal and is even cheaper in comparison to bottle fed milk.
* Breast milk also releases a hormone called oxytocin which helps in contracting the uterus and return to its previous state faster. Additionally it also helps in reducing excessive bleeding after delivery.
* Its helps in losing weight, faster
* It also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer along with uterine and ovarian cancer.

Despite the many benefits of breast feeding, the breastfeeding culture is slowly diminishing and is being taken over by bottle-feeding culture. The condition is worse in the UK, which is the country with the lowest rates of breastfeeding practice in Europe and even in UK. To change this and bring about a cultural change and promote the practice of breastfeeding, “Breastival” is being organized at Northern Island on August 5, wherein 200 mothers will be breastfeeding together and set a new record.
First Published: August 6, 2017, 12:10 PM IST
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