World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week is observed every year from 1 to 7 August. It was an initiative by WHO, UNICEF and other organizations for safeguarding the health of mother and infant and encouraging breastfeeding. This declaration got signed in August 1990 by government policymakers.
Breastfeeding is the best possible way to grant the infants all the necessitated nutrients. According to WHO- Breastfeeding should begin within one hour after the baby is born and should continue till the baby is 6 months old. Afer 6 months, one can add on other nutritionally adequate and safe complimentary foods with continuation of breastfeeding.
Health benifits associated with Breastfeeding
Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 month is having several health benifits for both the mother and the infant. After delivery, one may encounter gastrointestinal infections that can be seen in developing as well as the developed countries. Breastfeeding minimise chances of this infection.
- Feeding the baby within a span of one year will safeguard him against various infections.
- It will decrease the risk of mortality that may happen because of diarrhoea.
- It has been noticed that infants who are either partially breastfed or not at all breastfed had major infections.
- Breast milk is an indispensable source of energy and important nutrients in children of 6-23 month os age.
- It boosts their immunity system.
- According to a survey, Adolescents and children who were breastfed as babies were comparatively fit to those who were not fed.
- Their academic performance is also better than those who were not fed well, they has better attendance and scored better in intelligence tests.
- Breastfeeding also contributes in economic gains of a country as a healthy adult will have a higher income in future.
Longer span of breastfeeding also contributed to mother’s well being.
- It reduces ovarian and breast cancer risks.
- It also helps in spacing pregnancy as it is contracts menstruation, known as Lactation Amenorrhoea Method.
Initiatives by WHO and UNICEF
WHO is working with UNICEF and the partners for promoting the significance of family friendly policies for enabling breastfeeding.
- It includes enacting paid maternity leaves for a minimum 18 weeks.
- It has enacted paid paternity leaves too for enhancing shared responsibility of child, it is a significant step towards gender equality.
- Mothers need to have access to parent friendly workplace so that she can return home at specific time periods for feeding the child.
- Increased breastfeeding can contribute to save more than 8,00,000 lives each year.
- It can safeguard the mother against 2 types of diabetes and heart disease.
- Breastfeeding can save more than 20,000 maternal deaths each year.