Time and again the medical fraternity insist upon the advantages of breastfeeding to the general public but still 3 in 5 babies are not breastfed in the first hour of life. WHO recommends every mom to feed her newborn infant with colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk secreted at the end of pregnancy. This fluid must be fed to the baby within an hour of birth as it is the perfect food for a newborn.
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1st-7th to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding, encourage more mommies to breastfeed and improve the health of babies worldwide. Despite its celebration since 1992, not many women take up breastfeeding as their duty and perform it whole-heartedly.
The theme for 2018 is Breastfeeding: The Foundation for Life. The core objectives of this year’s theme include informing people about the direct advantages of breastfeeding on good nutrition, food security and poverty reduction, anchoring breastfeeding as the foundation of life, engaging with individuals and organizations for large-scale impact and galvanizing actions to promote breastfeeding.
WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to a baby’s 6th month after which nutritious complementary foods must be introduces gradually along with breastfeeding for up to 2 years or beyond. Repeatedly, WHO insists on feeding the baby with colostrum which can also be termed as the baby’s ‘first vaccine’ owing to its rich nutrients and antibodies. For a good supply of colostrum, skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby should be initiated within an hour of birth. This creates an inseparable bond between the mommy and her baby which along with suckling at the breast stimulates production of breastmilk.
What Makes Breastmilk Stand Above the Rest?
Breastfeeding increases energy needs by almost 500 calories per day, increases the need for various nutrients and also makes it essential to eat a varied diet. The numerous hormonal changes that have occurred before, during and after pregnancy can make you eat more due to excess hunger and trying to restrict calorie intake might decrease both your milk supply and your energy needs. It is better to stick with your body fat for the first 3 months after delivery as any inclination to reduce calories or lose weight might decrease your milk supply.
Nutrients play a great role in affecting your breast milk quality. The amount of some nutrients consumed via your diet may affect their presence in breast milk while some other nutrients are transferred into breast milk regardless of your intake quantity. It is crucial that you eat a variety of foods rich in different nutrients to nourish your baby. Some foods that you must include while breastfeeding include:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.