“Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life,” – Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO DG.
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure a child’s health and survival. However, nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months. According to the World Health Organization (2018), globally, 3 in 5 five babies are not breastfed in the first hour of life. While Over 820,000 children could be saved yearly if all children between 0-23 months were breastfed. It was also discovered that only 41% of infants under 6 months of age are breastfed and 93% of mothers feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public places.
The World Breastfeeding Week global initiative was designed to recognize breastfeeding and its ability to lower infant mortality, protect women from ovarian and breast cancer, and provide the ideal nutrition for healthy growth in infants (Romper, 2021). Each year, World Breastfeeding Week has a theme. For 2021, the theme is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.” (The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), says it chose this theme to highlight “the links between breastfeeding and survival, health and wellbeing of women, children, and nations.”
Asides from the ideal nutrition that aids the mental and physical development of your babies, breast milk promotes the health of your baby in the following ways:
- It boosts your child’s intelligence by enhancing IQ level.
- It contains antibodies that help your baby fight off bacteria and viruses.
- It lowers the risk of allergies and infections.
- It reduces your child’s risk of becoming overweight as a teen or an adult.
Breastfeeding not only benefits the child but also contribute to the well-being of the mother in the following ways:
- It burns extra calories and can help mothers loosen pregnancy wastes faster.
- It releases the hormone oxytocin to help your uterus return to its original size.
- It equally lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Now that you know more about the benefits of breastfeeding, why not educate others, especially throughout this week, which is World Breastfeeding Week. You can spread the word by talking to your community, friends, or sharing information about the initiative on social media.