Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.
If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800 000 child lives would be saved every year. Adequate breastfeeding counseling and support are essential for mothers and families to initiate and maintain optimal breastfeeding practices.
Breastfeeding is the best source of nourishment for infants and young children.
WHO (World Health Organization) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, solid foods, such as mashed fruits and vegetables, should be introduced to complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more. In addition:
Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Breastfeeding also benefits mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural method of birth control. It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression.
Breastfed babies perform better in intelligence tests.
Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk. The long-term benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and children cannot be replicated with infant formula. When infant formula is not properly prepared, there are risks arising from the use of unsafe water and un-sterilized equipment or the potential presence of bacteria in powdered formula.
"Authored By Dr.Niraj Mahajan"
MD- Gynecologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon, Uro-gynecologist , Infertility specialist & Cosmetic Gynecologist.Read more [+]