The first consideration that comes to mind when we talk about feeding babies is the newborn child and for this, all our mothers are gifted by God with the best gift of Nature called Breast milk
World Health Organization actively promotes breastfeeding as the best food source for infants and young children. Every year, World Breastfeeding Week is dedicated to being August 1S t-7thaccording to WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. WHO and UNICEF recommend that children begin breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and that they be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, which means that no other foods or fluids, including water, are provided. Breast milk is one of the most effective ways to ensure the health and survival of children and is ideal for babies. It’s safe, clean, and contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses.
Advantages of breastfeeding:
- It is the complete food by itself for the baby up to 6 months of life in all aspects. It is rich in fats, especially in essential fatty acids and the quality of the proteins is adequate for the baby. It is unique because it is rich in lipase, an enzyme that is poor in other dairy sources.
- It has an adequate water content to meet the requirement and does not need to feed with water as long as the baby is exclusively breastfed.
- It is rich in antibodies that help the baby to fight against any infection.
- A protein in breast milk called lactalbumin is easily digestible.
- The bioavailability of iron present in breast milk is high and this prevents the baby from being anemic.
- Breastfed children who do better on intelligence tests are less likely to be overweight or obese and are less prone to diabetes later in life, according to the WHO.
- Breast milk ensures stability through the emotional bond of mother and child. Gives a sense of security to the child.
- It helps burn the extra fat deposited during pregnancy as well as possibly lowering the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer in mothers at a later stage.
- Breastfeeding helps you lose the weight you have gained during the course of your pregnancy and helps you regain your figure.
Therefore, breastfeeding is the best way to provide all the energy and nutrients that the baby needs during the first months of life, and continues to provide up to half or more of the child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first. year and up to a third during the second year of life.
Dr. Nishitha Krishnan T | Clinical and dietary nutrition | Narayana Medical Center, Langford Town, Bangalore
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