Why Breastfeeding is important for babies

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Every year, countries around the world observe World Breastfeeding Week for a good reason. This year, the World Health Organisation, WHO, embraced the annual celebration of the event as a valuable way to advocate for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

The event which took place in August was themed “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life,” a recognition of the importance of breastfeeding to a baby’s future.

Breast milk is known to contain antibodies, which help the baby fight virus and bacteria. It reduces rates of asthma and allergies in new-born babies. Babies, who are fed with breast milk exclusively for the first six months of their lives are less prone to diarrhoea, ear infections and respiratory illness.

The American Academy of Paediatrics, AAP, says that exclusive breastfeeding for new-born for the first six months helps the child grow, prevents under nutrition, promotes brain development and reduces the risk of children becoming overweight, while the first vaccine for the baby provides vital antibodies and immunity boost.

According to World Development Indicators, WDI, reports compiled from officially recognized sources, exclusive breastfeeding (% of children under 6 months) in Nigeria was reported at 23.33 % in 2017.

Mothers now develop high chances of avoiding some diseases while making sure they breastfed their children. It has long been tied to health benefits for women, including lower risks for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. The current study focused on whether nursing might also be tied to a reduced risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, NAFDL, which is usually linked to obesity and certain eating habits.

Emmanuel Enang, a Pediatrician said that Breastfeeding helps mothers burn extra calories. “It helps women lose pregnancy weight faster, releases the hormone, oxytocin, which helps a woman’s uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. This may reduce uterine bleeding after birth and also lowers women’s risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer,” he said.

Felicita Ogbu, a doctor said that breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. “It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat everything your baby needs to grow. It contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.

“It actually lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.”

According to her, breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood.

Ogbu also said that breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.

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