Letter To Editor | Children Health and Breastfeeding Week

Representational Photo

EVERY year the world celebrates breast-feeding week from August 1 to 7. To improve the status of breastfeeding globally, World Health Assembly, the forum through which the World Health Organization is governed by its 194 member states, had set a target of increasing the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months to at least 50 per cent by 2025, as compared to the prevailing rate of 38 per cent.

One of the major benefits of breastfeeding is protection against illness. Breast Milk is the perfect food for a new-born, and the nutrition it offers is unparalleled. Feeding infants with breast milk has proven a lot of health benefits for the mother and the baby as well, and it can have a profoundly positive effect on the emotional well-being of both.

Breastfeeding offers a sense of comfort, as the baby adjusts to a new environment. Also, the skin-to-skin contact of breastfeeding boosts the levels of oxytocin (the calming hormone) for the mother. WHO and UNICEF state that breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese, and less prone to diabetes later in life. It may be recalled that 4 years ago hundred odd mothers from Philippines made their nation proud when they nursed their babies in a government-backed mass breastfeeding event aimed at combating child deaths.

Ranganathan Sivakumar

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