World Breastfeeding Week 2022: Babies who are breastfed have passive immunity for longer

Bhubaneswar: Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, breastfeeding for mothers has become a risky affair. It has been seen that there has been an increase in the sale and usage of feeding bottles because of the fear of not infecting an infant.

However, the natural way of feeding an infant i.e. breastfeeding, continues to remain the most nutritious and healthy practice for both the child and the mother.

Considering the importance to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding, World Breastfeeding Week is observed each year from August 1-7 which is organised by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) in association with WHO and UNICEF.

The theme for this year is ‘Step up for Breastfeeding Educate and Support’.

This theme comes with four objectives:

Inform people about their role in strengthening the warm chain of support for breastfeeding.

Anchor breastfeeding as part of good nutrition, food security and reduction of inequalities.

Engage with individuals and organisations along the warm chain of support for breastfeeding.

Galvanise action on strengthening capacity of actors and systems for transformational change.

In an exclusive conversation with Swasthya Sambad, Dr. Sini Venugopal, Obstetrician & Gynecologist said, “Breastfeeding or breast milk has a lot of significance as far as the health of the child and mother is concerned. During the first six months of the baby, we highly recommend nothing but only breast milk; we call it ‘Exclusive Breastfeeding’. Also, a child is born with no antibodies or extremely weak immunity. So through breast milk, the antibodies from the mother get carried on to the child. This helps the child in the process of immunity development. Diseases like stomach and intestine infections, diabetes, obesity etc has fewer chances to happen in future if a child has been through at least 6 months of breastfeeding.”

As far as how mothers are benefitted, Dr. Sini said, “Post delivery the size of the uterus is wider than normal. Breastfeeding helps to reduce the size of the uterus which helps in stoppage of bleeding. The chance of ovary related issues or breast cancer also becomes minimum if a mother regularly breast feeds. ”

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