According to a report by the Breast Promotion Network of India, our country ranks the lowest amongst all South Asian nations in terms of breastfeeding practices. Owing to a number of reasons such as the mother’s ill health, lesser maternity leaves and the need to get back to work, lesser family support and others, a significant percentage of women in India tend to give up breastfeeding early. Moreover, the easy availability of formula feed in the market provides them with an easy option to feed their babies for dealing with the above challenges.
Recent statistics and data show that the current infant mortality rate is one of the biggest health concerns in India at the moment and the primary reason for this is the lack of immunity in infants. Breastfeeding is the FIRST, BEST and MOST NATURAL source of IMMUNIZATION for infants. Breastfeeding is known to have a profound impact on a child’s health, nutrition and development. Despite this, a large chunk of mothers, especially urban mothers tend to quit the practice for their own reasons.
While some mothers nowadays don’t opt for breastfeeding due to the pain associated with the practice, there are others who are unaware of its benefits.
Benefits to babies:
- Breast milk contains everything your baby needs: proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water and enzymes in the exact amounts required for optimal growth and development
- Breast milk contains substances that prevent harmful bacteria from growing in the intestines and causing gastrointestinal and diarrhoeal infections
- Breastfed babies have fewer middle ear infections, fewer respiratory infections and a decreased risk of developing allergies, cancer, childhood diabetes and obesity
- Breastfed babies have a decreased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Breastfed babies are less prone to develop diabetes, heart disease, eczema, asthma and other allergic disorders later in life
- Breastfeeding a premature baby decreases their risk of developing necrotising enterocolitis (NEC)
- Breastfeeding enhances brain development. Research shows there is better visual development and visual acuity in breastfed children
- Breast milk is clean, free from bacteria and has anti-infective properties
- Breast milk has the right temperature and needs no preparation. It is readily available whenever your baby needs it
- Breastfeeding is more than just food. It enhances the emotional bond between the baby and the mother and provides warmth, love and affection
Benefits to Mothers:
- Breastfeeding reduces post-delivery bleeding and the risk of anaemia
- Breastfeeding mothers have a reduced risk of developing type 2 Diabetes
- Breastfeeding mothers have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They are also four times less likely to develop osteoporosis
- Breastfeeding lowers the risk of developing postpartum anxiety and depression
- Breastfeeding delays the return of the menstrual cycle
- Breastfeeding a baby can help mothers to burn over 500 calories per day and will help them to return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly