World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated in more than 120 countries from 1- 7 August every year. With its extensive reach, The 'World Breastfeeding Week' campaign aims to increase awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding by reinforcing the importance of the first and most crucial step - Awareness and Support.
The theme for 2008 coincides with this sentiment-
Mother Support - Going for the Gold 2008
Breast feeding mothers need support from all directions- family, workplace, environment and their own confidence level to exclusively breast feed the child during the initial 6 months.
Nutritional status and maternal health of women is imperative to make this happen. Support from family, workplace, and healthcare experts is required to allow the mother to realize the benefits of exclusive breast feeding for 6 months. Therefore, the WBW campaign is a universal appeal to support the breastfeeding mother. This year, a healthy competitive spirit is in the air- those that enable the maximum support to breast feeding mothers can win the gold for the best initiative.
It is estimated that newborn infections like diarrhea and pneumonia, claim the lives of more than 1.4 million infants each year. Unless women understand the importance of breast-feeding these figures are only likely to grow further.
Goodness of Breast Milk
Just as the baby is well protected in the womb, breast milk offers similar protection to the baby after birth.
Breast-feeding in the first one hour following birth is a MUST.
• Breast-feeding is wholesome and absolute nourishment for the baby during the initial 6 months. It is important to exclusively breast feed the child during the first six months without the requirement of other milk, food or water.
• Colostrum, the pale yellow first milk present in the initial 2-3 days following birth provides resistance against infections and diseases.
• Adequate calories are contained in breast milk with the right amount of fat, lactose, vitamins, minerals, water and enzymes, just right for baby's needs.
• It is completely free of germs and bacteria and can guard the baby from any infection. Further, it has protective ingredients which inhibit the growth of bacteria in the intestine, the leading cause of diarrhea in infants.
• Breast milk is economical and free from contamination. No preparation time is required as it is always ready when the baby needs.
• Breast milk goes beyond being just 'food' for the baby. It enhances bonding between the mother and child, providing security, warmth and comfort to the infant.
Formula for Life Long Health - Breast Milk
There are innumerable life-long benefits of breast milk and some are listed below :-
• Breast feeding offers protection against respiratory illnesses.
• Incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and allergic conditions are less in breastfed babies.
• Breastfeeding gives an impetus to the development of the brain. Babies fed on breast milk portray higher intelligence quotient than infants on other baby food.
• Breast feeding mothers regain their pre-pregnancy weight much faster than mothers who do not breast feed.
• Risk of breast and ovarian cancers is much less in women who have breast fed.
Well-crafted advertisements for formula milk and other baby food products give the impression that breast milk is inadequate for the growing infant. Mothers often lose sight of the goal and resort to supplements, not realizing the bountiful benefits in mother's milk. WBW campaign during this week appeals to mothers to look no further other than themselves for the best they can give their child - Mother's Milk.
Breast Milk - Go For It!