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World Breastfeeding Week: Breast milk, the superfood for babies

A nurse helps out a mother who nearly gave birth to a premature baby on her breastfeeding at Kisenyi health centre in Uganda's capital Kampala. Picture: Reuters

A nurse helps out a mother who nearly gave birth to a premature baby on her breastfeeding at Kisenyi health centre in Uganda's capital Kampala. Picture: Reuters

Published Aug 1, 2022

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The first week of August marks breastfeeding awareness week.

According to the World Health Organization, breast milk is the best nourishment for infants. It contains antibodies that aid in preventing a number of prevalent paediatric illnesses, and it is safe and hygienic.

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Children who are breastfed score higher on IQ tests, are less likely to become overweight or obese and are less likely to develop diabetes in the future.

Breast milk is nature’s perfect food.

It's probable that many talented people have tried to duplicate the wonder recipe but have been unsuccessful. It just cannot be done! Breast milk contains living cells that fight infections. It contains ingredients that promote proper brain and eye development, as well as a strong immune system and digestive tract.

According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, breastfeeding may reduce a mother's risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as the incidence of ovarian and breast cancer.

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Breastfeeding can benefit both the mother and the child emotionally and psychologically. It causes the mother, for example, to release the hormones prolactin and oxytocin, which promote nurturing and attachment, respectively. This chemical release encourages the development of an emotional bond with one's child.

Among the multitude of benefits that breastfeeding is advocated for it is also best for mum as breastfeeding causes the uterus to contract reducing excessive bleeding.

In accordance with WHO and UNICEF recommendations, breastfeeding should begin within an hour of birth and continue exclusively for the first six months of a child's life, with the exception of water.

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Infants should be breastfed whenever they request it, which is any time of day or night. There should be no usage of bottles, teats, or pacifiers.

While continuing to nurse for up to two years and beyond, children should start consuming safe and sufficient supplementary foods at the age of six months.

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