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Mother’s Milk: Rethinking The Health Benefits Of Breastfeeding

Breastfeed for a healthier future!

Parenting And Family
| News18.com| UPDATED: May 14, 2018, 1:09 PM IST
Mother’s Milk: Rethinking The Health Benefits Of Breastfeeding (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Wavebreak/ Istock.com)
Breastfeeding your baby is the first form of life insurance you sign for your baby. All mothers are advised to breastfeed their babies for a minimum of 6 months, but what they fail to understand completely is why they should do so. Breast milk provides all the nutrients (water, sugar, fat etc.) your baby needs to be healthy. It also contains many substances that benefit your baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells. With inputs from Ms. Emilie Moulard, Managing Director, Medela India, we have managed to understand the importance of breastfeeding for a baby in a better way.

According to the Lancet Breastfeeding Series of 2016, “Breastfeeding all babies for the first two years would save the lives of more than 823,000 children under age 5 annually”. They have also introduced 10 new guidelines to promote breastfeeding and spread awareness around its benefits. Over the years, as per WHO the neo-natal mortality rates have not reduced nearly as rapidly as child mortality rates because of the lack of awareness and the lack of support towards breastfeeding.

What many people are unaware of, is that breastfeeding offers multiple health benefits to both mother and child. It is specially designed to cater to all your child’s nutritional needs in the first six months of life. Mother’s milk helps form an increased resistance to infections, therefore, resulting in fewer incidents of illness and hospitalization. Eventually, in the long run, breastfed babies have a decreased risk of malnutrition, obesity and heart disease compared to formula-fed babies. Mother’s milk has long-term benefits for your baby which last right into adulthood and any amount of it will always be positive. The longer you breastfeed your child the better protection you are providing him/ her and the benefits last longer.

Along with benefiting the child, breastfeeding also helps the mother. The baby's sucking causes the uterus to contract and reduces the flow of blood after delivery, thereby preventing postpartum hemorrhage. During breastfeeding the body releases certain hormones that create feelings of warmth and calm in the mother. Along with losing weight, breastfeeding mothers have lesser chances of developing breast cancer in life.

Other than making new mothers aware of the importance of breastfeeding, we need to sensitize their surrounding eco-system to enable them to breastfeed. While we know a mother’s primary role is to breastfeed her child for a healthier future, the family plays a pivotal role through her special journey by supporting her physically, mentally and emotionally.
The other stakeholders who play a very important role are nurses, doctors and lactation consultants who, in the initial stages of motherhood, influence the new mother and it is their advice and instructions that a mother takes home with her. In the recent past the Government has taken impactful steps to spread awareness around breastfeeding like constructing special breastfeeding rooms at bus stops and separate breastfeeding compartments in trains, or extending the maternity leave from three to six months in 2017, as they realize that for a healthier future of the country will only be possible if the future generations are healthy from the start.

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First Published: May 14, 2018, 1:09 PM IST


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