Breastfeeding benefits for mother and baby

image_2_240x240sep03Let us ask ourselves a basic question: do we really need to be told to do something which we are supposed to be doing naturally? Isn’t breastfeeding a natural phenomenon that every mother experiences and should be doing?

Breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is six months old. Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond. Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.

Breast milk is the only natural food designed for the baby, which protects the baby from infections and diseases. It’s delivered at the right temperature and helps to maintain a good gut health and decreases the chance of being constipated. Infant formula doesn’t give your baby the same ingredients or provide the same protection. Breast milk adapts to meet your baby’s changing needs as he/she grow old.

Breastfeeding doesn’t only benefit your baby. It benefits mother’s health too. It naturally decreases the relative risk of getting Breast cancer. Not breast feeding or doing it for a shorter duration may be one of the reasons of breast cancer cases being on the rise. Breast feeding naturally uses up to 500 calories a day, hence helps to shed the pregnancy weight gain. Exclusive breastfeeding can also delay the return of regular menstrual cycle and thus acts as a natural contraception.

Above all it helps to build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.

“Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life!” – This theme was developed by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) for “World Breastfeeding Week”, which is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

So here are a few questions which we need to think about:

  • Why do we need to celebrate this week?
  • Why do we need some other organization /people to explain us something which is a natural behavior of a mother?
  • Have we ever seen other mammals being explained / taught the reason to breast feed then why we humans whose IQ stands highest amongst all the beings creatures?

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Dr. Namita Pandey
Consultant Breast Oncosurgeon

Dr. Namita Pandey, a Consultant Breast Oncosurgeon at IOSPL, Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai has years of experience handling numerous cases in breast cancer at Hiranandani (Mumbai), Tata Memorial (Mumbai), Indo American Cancer Hospital (Hyderabad), Apollo Hospital (Hyderabad) and GKNM Hospital (Coimbatore).

She takes care of the Comprehensive Breast Clinic where all breast related issues like lactational disorders, nipple discharges, breast pain, non-cancerous lumps, breast cancer prevention counseling, patient education, breast cancer survivorship programs and cosmetic aspects of breasts are dealt under one roof.

Image: Getty Images

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