August was declared as National Breastfeeding Month in 2011 by the United States Breastfeeding Committee. They aim to widen and advance the nation’s knowledge about breastfeeding by supporting it, protecting it and promoting breastfeeding.
What is breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is also called nursing. It is the feeding of milk of babies and young children from a woman’s breast. Nowadays, as soon as the newborn is checked and got cleared from all tests (if needed), the baby is given to the mother to be nursed as soon as possible.
How often do you need to feed the baby?
Health professionals recommend that newborns should be breastfed within their first hour. WHO and UNICEF recommend that children should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life – meaning no other foods or liquid intake, including water.
Infants should be breastfed as often as the child wants, day and night. No bottles or pacifiers should be used. From the age of 6 months, children should begin eating safe and adequate complementary soft foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding both for the mother and the baby?
Breast milk contains everything an infant needs. The earliest milk form that a newborn gets from the mother is called Colostrum. It is high in protein, low in sugar and fully loaded with nutrients.
Breast Milk contains important antibodies that will protect your baby from viruses and bacteria. In fact, the milk adjusts as to what your baby needs. If your baby is sick, experts say that the baby’s saliva sends signals to the mother’s body to produce illness-specific antibodies.
Mothers who breastfeed seem less likely to develop postpartum depression, compared to those mothers who don’t breastfeed. It is known that breastfeeding causes hormonal changes to a woman’s body. One of which is the production of Oxytocin known for its anti-anxiety effects.
The mother’s health & nutrition is important.
- Have a healthy diet
- Try to balance enough rest and activities
- Be careful of the medications you’re taking
- Avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- Ask for professional help if needed especially if you’re experiencing baby blues and postpartum depression.
This month, let us be aware of the importance of nursing and celebrate and acknowledge all the breastfeeding mothers in the world.