Breastfeeding is a boon for moms. According to WHO, in most countries, only breastfeeding rate is below 50 percent in the first six months. The severity of this situation can be estimated by the fact that now we celebrate breastfeeding weeks from Aug 1 to 8 August every year to increase awareness. Senior Nutrition Advisor, Dr. Manjari Chandra, in IVH Senior Care said, “Nutrition supply in the first thousand days of life begins from pregnancy to the second birthday and provides long term health. Breastfeeding is an essential part of this early nutrition, because the mother’s milk is a multi-dimensional mixture of nutrients and bioactive construction factors, which is essential for a newborn baby in the first six months of life.
He said that the mother’s milk is a mixture of macronutrients, micronutrients, bioactive components, growth factors and disease-resistant components. This mixture is a biological fluid, which helps in ideal physical and mental growth, and in later times, the child is susceptible to metabolism.
Children who are not given only mother’s milk, they are at risk of infection and their IQ can also be reduced. Their ability to learn is low and their performance in schools is weak compared to those who have received only mother’s milk for the first six months.
According to the WHO statistics, weighing more than 20 million infants each year lives less than 2.5 kg at birth and, unfortunately, 96 percent of these are in developing countries. In childhood, the risk of normal development, infectious disease, slow growth and death of these babies is high. There is enough evidence from which these babies are exposed to the importance of breastfeeding in the first 24 hours of life. The babies who are breastfeeding within 24 hours of birth are found to have lower mortality compared to those children, who are breast-fed after 24 hours.
According to Dr Arun Gupta, convenor of senior pediatrician and breastfeeding promotions Network of India (BPNI), ‘Breastfeeding is essential for the health of the child, its survival and development. Despite this, three out of five women in India are not able to start breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Only one-two women will give their child only their milk for the first six months. This is because women have to face various bottlenecks for breastfeeding at homes, offices and hospitals. ‘
Dr. Chandra said, ‘Breastfeeding mothers are advised to continue taking vitamin supplements daily, which they had taken before delivery. Vitamins are sourced in the mother’s milk and the lack of nutrients in the mother’s body directly affects their milk. Vegetarian mothers also require vitamin D, B12 and calcium.
He said, ‘Breastfeeding is equally important for mothers and there are many short-term and long-term benefits. Immediate benefits for mothers include a decrease in weight after delivery and a deep relationship between mother and infant. At the time of pregnancy there are many physical changes to support the new life in the uterus. During pregnancy, the body passes hyperlipidemic and insulin inhibitory phase, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes in later life. Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of metabolic and heart diseases in the long run and it is associated with a reduction of 4-12 percent at risk of type 2 diabetes.