The annual World Breastfeeding Week took off on August 1st and is set to last until August 7th this year.
Health authorities, mothers’ groups, pediatricians and other actors involved in the matter are taking to opportunity to remind mothers and the world of the importance that breastfeeding holds for newborns and mothers alike.
This year, the theme of the World Breastfeeding Week is ‘Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work!’. The theme has been upheld in 1993 as well, yet the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action decided to rekindle it as not much has changed still.
Working and breastfeeding is a controversial topic for many. Specialists and advocates argue that enhancing and enforcing mothers’ rights to breastfeed regardless of the environment they find themselves in is high on the priority list.
Newborns need mothers to breastfeed. The initial boost of the immunity system is given by the most nutritious food item infants can ingest. And that is mother’s milk. The World Health Organization recommends that infants are breastfed at least until they reach six months. Further, breastfeeding is advised up to two years.
In addition, the United States National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics and UNICEF argue that breastfeeding protects that child from an array of health complication, while providing a nutritionally balanced meal.
According to these guidelines, the infant that receives mother’s breast milk has a higher survival rate than that who is not breastfed. As such, a mother’s milk will protect the infant from lactose intolerance, asthma, influenza, pneumonia.
Moreover, breastfeeding helps the infant develop into a healthier child and reduces the risk of developing obesity or type 1 diabetes.
However, the benefits are multiple even for mothers. As they breastfeed their child, they bond with the infant and boost their emotional health. It’s easier to lose weight it seems. Also, breastfeeding substantially reduces the risk of hip fractures, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
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