WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK

World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration held every year from August 1 to 7 in over 120 countries. World Health Organisation states breastfeeding as one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is ‘Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support.’ By urging organisations and nations to create safeguards for breastfeeding, this topic hopes to increase breastfeeding awareness.

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.

WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond. :

Breastfeeding is recommended in 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.

* 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[1] 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.

[1] Hormones are chemicals produced by the body to help one part of the body communicate with another, by sending signals to certain organs, tissues, and cells. Released directly into the bloodstream by organs known as endocrine glands, hormones circulate through the body until they make contact with their target areas.The initial contact a hormone makes with a cell starts a series of important reactions carried out within that specific cell or tissue. Prolactin, which stimulates milk production in breastfeeding women and has wide-ranging effects on behavior, reproduction, and the immune system.

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