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World Breastfeeding Week 2017: Importance of breast milk for babies in their initial six months

Breastfeeding baby for the first six months is very essential, as recommended by WHO. But when it comes to working mothers lack of extended leave makes it very difficult for them to breastfeed their babies. Pumping facilities are available at workplaces.


By   |  Updated On : August 01, 2017 11:32 PM
World Breastfeeding Week 2017: Importance of breast milk for babies in their initial six months

World Breastfeeding Week 2017: Importance of breast milk for babies in their initial six months

New Delhi :  

Breastfeeding baby for the first six months is very essential, as recommended by WHO. But when it comes to working mothers lack of extended leave makes it very difficult for them to breastfeed their babies. Pumping facilities are available at workplaces. 

Lactating mothers stop breastfeeding their babies after a period of three months and later on they switch to infant formula milk because they are not aware on how to continue with breastfeeding after they get back to work. While many find the way of storing breastmilk after pumping really cumbersome. 

Well the very first breastfeed is very essential for babies' health. It should be kept in mind that babies don't miss out on their first breastfeed after birth. The first milk or ‘colostrum,’ a thick, sticky, yellow transparent liquid, also known as the first vaccine for the baby is crucial. this milk carries antibodies and fighter cells from the mothers and gets tranferred to the infant. It is helpful in giving protection against all types of infections and allergies.

Although there are many benefits of first milk, yet the initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour is very low. Recently there was Medela Breastfeeding Survey 2017 which found that 36% of new lactating mothers from Maharashtra fed their babies with formula feed immediately after birth in the first hour. While there were 27% of new mothers who told that they fed they were recommended by their doctors to feed their babies with formula.

Caregivers play the most important role in encouraging mothers to prefer breasfeed for their babies rather than formula as the first initiate immediately after birth. 

Dr Ravneet Joshi, MD (Pediatrics)IBCLC at Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru tells about the importance of breastfeeding, he says ‘WHO recommends, babies should be exclusively breastfed for first six months of life and continue up to two years or beyond. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight viruses and bacteria, lower risk of asthma or allergies. Breastfeeding is a chance for the mother and the baby to connect, but it’s also a way of calming a baby in a stressful situation.  It’s convenient. Extended breastfeeding does take some planning, which can be done without substituting breast milk with formula.’

In the current situations, it is very necessary that that the culture of breastfeeding is revived and it is made clear to mothers the importance of colostrum and building the emotional connect with the baby through breastfeeding.

First Published: Tuesday, August 01, 2017 11:20 PM

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