World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1-7
- Breastfeeding week is observed from August 1 to August 7
- Breastfeeding is good for mother and baby
- Protecting breastfeeding: a shared responsibility – is the theme of 2021
August 1 marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week (WWW). More than 120 countries participate in this week-long annual event which aims to promote, protect and support breastfeeding for the health and well-being of the mother-baby duo. The World Alliance for Action on Breastfeeding (WABA) inaugurated the event in 1990 and celebrated its first celebration in 1992. Since then, WABA has organized WAMS with WHO, UNICEF and their partners. partners to raise awareness of the positive outcomes of breastfeeding for mother, baby, and society.
The 2021 theme: Protecting breastfeeding: a shared responsibility
Each year a specific theme and slogan is decided for the week (August 1-7) that urges individuals, organizations and governments to recognize the need for breastfeeding and to support breastfeeding mothers on their journey. This year’s slogan for WBW is âProtecting Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibilityâ.
According to the WHO, mothers should start breastfeeding within an hour of giving birth and then exclusively breastfeed the baby for the first six months of life. Then adopt complementary feeding with continuous breastfeeding for up to two years or as long as mother and baby want. This process ensures that the baby receives optimal nutrition for proper growth and development.
Yet two in three babies are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended six months. It is a condition that has not changed over the past two decades, which is why it has become crucial to know and convey the importance of breastfeeding at all levels.
Also read: World Breastfeeding Week: Know the Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother and Baby
The benefits of breastfeeding for the baby
Breastmilk is an easy to digest and absorb tailor-made food that contains the right mix of several nutritional and immunological compounds, such as proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, antibodies, immune cells, hormones, beneficial bacteria and oligosaccharides that:
- Provides optimal nutrition to support baby’s growth and development
- Strengthens immunity by protecting the baby against infections and diseases, which reduces infant mortality and morbidity
- Improves digestive health by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut
- Establishes healthy feeding practices by allowing the baby to become familiar with different tastes and flavors through breast milk
- Builds trust between mother and baby to make baby feel safe and comfortable
In addition to all this, the composition of breast milk changes according to the nutritional needs of the baby. This means that if a baby is born prematurely, the composition of the milk will vary to meet its needs.
Also read: World Breastfeeding Week: Essential Foods for Breastfeeding Mothers to Ensure Optimal Nutritional Intake
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother
As with babies, breastfeeding also benefits mothers.
- Rapid healing and recovery after childbirth
- Faster postpartum weight loss due to calorie depletion that occurs during breast milk production
- Lower risk of certain cancers, such as ovarian and breast cancer
- Reduces the risk of bone diseases, such as osteoporosis and arthritis
- Decreased risk of postpartum depression by promoting emotional satisfaction
In addition to this, skin-to-skin contact while breastfeeding helps both mother and baby.
Also read: Diet Tips Breastfeeding Moms Should Follow: Know What To Eat And Avoid
Breastfeeding is a great experience for mother and baby. For babies, breastfeeding is the source of food that boosts their immunity and promotes proper growth and development. And for mothers, it’s a way to bond with their babies and experience specific health benefits for themselves. Since breastfeeding is mutually beneficial, it is imperative that companies help mothers breastfeed for at least the first six months of an infant’s life.
(Swati Patwal is Clinical Nutritionist and Nutritionist Writer at MomJunction)
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