From 1-7 August 2017 we are observe the World Breastfeeding Week in order to encourage and improve the health of babies around the world. The theme for this week is “sustaining breastfeeding together”. Organisations like WHO, UNICEF, ILCA, WABA join together to promote the role that breastfeeding plays in valuing our wellbeing and this year is WBW’s 25th year of working together for the common good.
Important facts to note about breastfeeding:
- Helps the mother recover from labour due to the release of oxytocin and prolactin which helps the uterine to go back to the pre-delivery state
- It creates a unique bond between mother and child and also help reduce the incidence of post delivery depression
- Children who are not breastfed are at the risk for diarrhoea, diabetes, obesity, allergies, asthma, low IQ as well as increased morbidity and mortality
- Breastfeeding should be initiated within the hour of birth and colostrum should not be thrown away as they are rich in antibodies
- It lowers the risk of diabetes, breast cancer and chronic heart diseases of the mother
- It conserves iron due to the fact that a breastfeeding mother does not menstruate for 4-6 weeks after birth therefore reducing the risks of anaemia
- Breastfeeding helps in weight loss as you 500 calories just by feeding your baby
- In some countries are being made to sue all companies that make products that can be used as breastmilk replacement meals
- Exclusive breastfeeding must be done for 6 months, that means nothing else must be fed to the baby not even water. Milk has all the required nutrients and complementary feeding can be introduced after 6 months
This all is not news, but of importance to note is that it takes a village, it takes all of us because raising the healthiest possible generation is not only a mother’s responsibility. Family, friends, colleagues and the society as a whole we need to make it easy for women to breastfeed freely, we need to be supportive. Fathers can help with burping the baby after feeding to let the mother rest, change diapers, help with chores so she can relax. The family can also help by cooking nutritious for the breastfeeding mom, encouragement so she does not feel judged when she feeds her baby in front of you goes a long way. Employers should make the work place mom friendly by allowing flexible working hours in order to enable her to feed her baby. As the community we need to support mothers so that they can breastfeed anytime anywhere without giving them a side eye for taking out their breast in public places. We can all help make the society breastfeeding friendly!