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The significance of breastfeeding

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Mothers are increasingly refraining from breastfeeding. Due to this, children are not only getting weaker but their immunity is also decreasing.

By: Priyanka Saurabh

World Breastfeeding Week was observed from 1 to 7 August. This year ‘Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’, focused on the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding, involving governments, communities, and individuals. Emphasis was placed on informing, educating, and empowering families, through governments, health systems, workplaces, and communities, to strengthen their ability to provide and maintain a breastfeeding-friendly environment in a post-pandemic world. Breastfeeding is key to post-pandemic sustainable development strategies as it improves nutrition, ensures food security, and reduces inequalities between and within countries. The objectives of World Breastfeeding Week are to create awareness about breastfeeding among parents, encourage parents to adopt breastfeeding, and create awareness about the importance of adequate and appropriate complementary feeding.

Breastfeeding is important as it promotes better health for mothers and babies alike. It prevents infections like diarrhea and acute respiratory infections in early infancy and thus reduces infant mortality. It lowers the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It protects babies from obesity-related diseases, and diabetes and increases IQ. It is very important to start breastfeeding within an hour of birth if you see the right parameters for infant and young child’s diet. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life i.e. only breast milk and ‘no’ other milk, food, drink, or water. Continuing breastfeeding from the age of six months with proper and adequate complementary feeding until the age of two years or more plays an important role in the nutrition of children.

But in the changing times, there are many misconceptions about breastfeeding among new and modern mothers. In the modern era, mothers are refraining from feeding their newborn babies with their milk. According to the survey report, 79 percent of children up to one year in the country are bottle-fed in the early stages. Due to this, children are not only getting weak, but their immunity is also decreasing. When it comes to diet, nutritious and complete food is only and only mother’s milk. Which is also named Amrit. If the child takes his mother’s milk as a food, then he becomes healthy, strong, sharp intellect, and his immunity increases automatically.

The child’s intellectual ability is more in children who have drank mother’s milk for a long time. If we look at the old times, our forefathers were the ancestors who breastfed their mothers. He was very strong and had a sharp intellect. Today, due to the modern environment, many women refrain from feeding their children to maintain their figure. The modern mother does not feed her newborn child even for three days and argues that feeding the baby with the breast open causes a backward feeling. The figure deteriorates, she does not want to call herself a rustic mother. A big reason for this is also that today mothers who do not like to give birth naturally in cities, cannot feel the feeling of becoming that mother throughout their life. That pain does not feel the pain that creates the bond of love between mother and child. It is very important to give milk to the baby. It does not spoil your figure but on the contrary, makes you healthy and shapely.

There are many reasons why a mother chooses to bottle feed her baby. They may worry that the food and medicines they eat may be passed on to their babies through their milk. Women who worry that their smoking or coffee habits may reduce the amount of nicotine and caffeine in their natural milk see baby formula as a safer alternative. Breastfeeding affects different women differently. Some moms find that it makes them feel very uncomfortable and sore, and bottle feeding offers them a convenient and painless alternative. Others choose not to breastfeed because of other family or job pressures.

Modern society needs to change its practices to ensure that these pressures do not interfere with breastfeeding so much that women are forced to stop breastfeeding when they do not want to. The reason breastfeeding rates are faltering has as much to do with adjuvants as it has to do with formula and drug companies producing human milk substitutes. In highly industrialized developed countries, the widespread use of pumps and bottles of breastmilk or formula has also made it difficult to define breastfeeding accurately. Women are under pressure to pump for work, travel, etc. Pumping can damage the milk supply. The difficulties caused by this can lead to premature weaning. This often leads to increased supplementation and early weaning. Worse, it distracts from the essence of breastfeeding, which is a mother’s relationship with her baby. It has also become a fashion today for babies to be breastfed by their mother or any other woman in their group. Sadly, breaking free of this biological function is now seen as a reasonable option for many modern women.

A child depends on its mother for nourishment. This includes, but is not limited to, breastfeeding. Conscious lactating mothers understand that the breast is a source of food for their baby. The loving arms of mothers, fathers, family members, and other caregivers will happily hold their babies in between feedings. Studies have shown that breast milk for infants is easier to digest than formula, and may provide various health benefits. Breastfeeding prevents many diseases that can affect young children, including stomach viruses, Ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, and even childhood leukemia.

The writer is Research Scholar in Political Science, Poet, freelance journalist and columnist.

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