Why Is World Breastfeeding Week Important?

By: Mansi

Published On: August 04, 2022

Giving birth is truly a beautiful and surreal experience, but it is even more of a magical moment when a mother holds her child in her arms for the first time. It is when she starts to bond with an undetachable part of her soul. It's the start of the selfless relationship that a mother forms with her child. 


As an instinct, a new mother always reaches for her child to feed them. That’s her language of love. And that’s how it all begins. She takes her child under her nutritional wings as she nourishes them and prepares them for this new life that they are about to embark upon. 



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It's often said that no other alternative can ever match up to the kind of nutrition a mother’s milk provides to the baby. Since the baby grows at a much faster rate in that particular stage, they constantly require nourishment and sleep for a healthy growth and development. Not just that but breastfeeding within the first hour of birth is extremely crucial for the baby and the mother both. Apart from emotional bonding it significantly helps the infant in receiving vital nutrients that will ward off any possible illnesses. 


It is widely recommended by doctors from all over the world that an infant should at least be breastfed for the first six months of their life. It significantly helps with the cerebral as well as physical growth of the baby. Hence, it becomes important to actively talk about World Breastfeeding Week. Let’s find out what World Breastfeeding Week is all about:



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Why Is World Breastfeeding Week Celebrated Every Year?


World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1st August to 7th August. Due to its heavy importance, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) signed a declaration in 1990 along with different organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Subsequently the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) came into action in 1991. First breastfeeding week was observed in 1992 and since then it has played a pivotal role in spreading awareness about the importance of breastfeeding. 


Theme


This year’s theme of World Breastfeeding Week is Step Up For Breastfeeding: Educate And Support. This is in hope of making more and more people aware of the importance of breastfeeding in the life of the mother and her infant. Rural areas suffer with a high infant mortality rate due to the lack of this knowledge. 


It can sometimes also happen when the mother is not able to lactate due to a variety of reasons. And to combat that various organizations run milk banks that store donated breast milk to help infants in need of it and not a lot many people know about it. Due to the awareness of breastfeeding week, people can also be made aware about such initiatives so that no precious lives are lost. 


It can also be taken into a light wherein breastfeeding is no more made to be a taboo topic and talked about in hushed tones. Instead it is something that is to be encouraged and provided safe spaces for. Mothers should never be shamed for feeding their child as and when needed, instead they should be made feel safe and comfortable. Let’s further discuss why breastfeeding is extremely important for the both the baby and the mother:



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Advantages Of Breastfeeding


  • It keeps the infant away from short term and long term illnesses

  • Breastfed children are likely to perform better intellectually and proven to remain fit according to WHO

  • Breastfed children have fairly grim chances of being overweight, obese and prone to diabetes as compared to children who are not.

  • Breast milk contains antibodies that help in preventing several diseases among infants.

  • It has been said that breastfeeding helps the mother in recovering from postpartum depression as she feels closer to her baby.

  • It reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in mothers 

  • It reduces the risk of mother’s developing breast and ovarian cancer

  • It helps in lower rates of infant mortality

  • It gives a stronger immune system to the infant

  • It helps with better vision


What Can You Do?


Since each year several precious lives are lost due to lack of breastfeeding, it becomes our responsibility to spread awareness about the benefits of it. Every mother should be made aware of the health benefits of breastfeeding infants for at least six months after the birth as according to WHO, 2 out of 3 children are not breastfed. Let’s together change these figures. We should actively increase public support for breastfeeding. More milk banks should be established to help new mothers. By taking such iniatives we can contribute to this year’s theme of breastfeeding week- Step Up For Breastfeeding: Educate And Support.



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Also Read: Help India’s Women Fight Breast Cancer Together