In the words of the WHO “ breastfeeding is one of the smartest investments that a country, a community and a family can make, for the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby (and also for society).
For this reason, it is essential to promote and facilitate breastfeeding from all sectors, since breastfeeding is not only a matter for the mother, but requires the help and support of her entire environment, and this includes health professionals who start by facilitating breastfeeding. breastfeeding in the hospital families , professional bodies, academic institutions, companies and workplaces, communities, governments and the media, among others.
Also Read: Frequent doubts about breastfeeding
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According to Unicef says a paper on the benefits of breastfeeding, the milk mother the best food for babies because it contains all the nutrients that the baby needs to grow and develop healthy, strong and intelligent
Breastfeeding has multiple benefits for the health of the mother and the child, which are maintained over time, especially with prolonged breastfeeding.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the baby
- Reduces infant mortality
Children who breastfeed in the first six months of life are 14 times more likely to survive than those who have not. Starting to breastfeed a child from the first day of life reduces newborn mortality by 45 percent.
- It protects the baby against numerous diseases.
Breastfeeding is the baby’s first immunization , especially in places where powdered milk is expensive and runs the risk of becoming contaminated with poor quality water. ”
According to Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF. “There is no other health intervention that has such a great benefit for mothers and their babies and that costs governments so little, such as breastfeeding”, “
Breast milk contains special antibodies that strengthen the baby’s immune system and protect you against respiratory infections , flu , asthma , chronic eczema , ear infections,diarrhea, allergies and other diseases.
- It prevents constipation and is easy to digest by the newborn’s immature intestine .
- Helps prevent baby obesity and future chronic diseases.
- Facilitates the bond with the mother.
- It reduces the risk of sudden infant death , whether it is exclusive or mixed breastfeeding .
Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers
- Reduces the risk of postpartum depression
- Reduces the risk of anemia.
- Helps lose weight after delivery.
- It facilitates the bond with the baby.
- It prevents breast cancer , and ovarian cancer and the risk of osteoporosis after menopause .
- It reduces the risk of diabetes even more if you have had gestational diabetes.
- It can relieve pain from caesarean section.
- Protects from hypertension at menopause.
Benefits of breastfeeding for society
The benefits of breastfeeding are not limited to mothers and babies but also benefit society because they help achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this sense, breastfeeding improves nutrition, prevents infant mortality, reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases, and favors cognitive development and education.
In addition, breastfeeding helps reduce poverty, benefits national economies (by reducing the cost of health care), helps increase educational attainment, promotes economic growth, and reduces inequalities.
According to the WHO, low breastfeeding rates translate into productivity losses and high costs in health care (treatment of preventable diseases and chronic diseases).
New World Collective for Breastfeeding
In view of the crucial role of breastfeeding in global health and development, in 2012 the 194 Member States of the Health Assembly committed to increase the worldwide rate of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life since a Reference value of 37% to 50% for the year 2025.
The United Nations then proclaimed the Decade of Action for Nutrition (2016–2025), and invited countries to implement a framework for action with various measures in support of breastfeeding.
To do this, UNICEF and WHO have met with 20 international organizations and non-governmental organizations to form the World Breastfeeding Collective, which began operating on August 1, 2018 (the first day of World Breastfeeding Week in America ), and that it is working for governments to promote policies and programs that facilitate breastfeeding.
In addition, every year World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in the first week of August in the US and Latin America and in the first week of October in Europe, to remember the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for all of society get involved.
According to the WHO, some of these policies and programs are:
- Ensure that the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes is complied with so that companies that manufacture breast-milk substitutes do not mislead women;
- Reinforce the regulations that regulate maternity leave and breastfeeding when returning to work to facilitate breastfeeding for working women.
- Improve maternal health care to provide breastfeeding support to women who have just become mothers;
- Increase access to qualified advice on breastfeeding in the health system. In this sense, for example, in Spain and there is a first master’s degree in breastfeeding that will train professionals specialized in the subject and a postgraduate degree in milk banking and breastfeeding.
- Increase funding to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.