Majority of young mothers are opting not to breastfeed their newborns and rather give them nanny milk as a way of hindering their breasts from sagging and losing shape.
Breastfeeding has numerous benefits to the nursing mother and the newborn as well.
However, the knowledge regarding the benefits that comes with breastfeeding seems to be disregarded by many modern women.
Benefits to the newborn
According to Juliet Kudate, a clinical officer who operates a private clinic in Narok town, breast milk contains antibodies.
These antibodies help in boosting the immunity and minimize chances of the baby getting sickness which can lead to increased mortality.
Babies who are not breastfed entirely for the first 6 months, Kudate explains, have higher chances of getting ear infections, respiratory illnesses and spells of diarrhea.
She explains that frequent children hospitalization is contributed by reduced or no breastfeeding.
The clinical officer adds that breast milk is nutritious and contains: proteins, fats and vitamins. The quantity, as she articulates, is easily digested compared to nanny milk.
This makes it an ideal diet for the growth and development of the baby. Strong immunity is responsible for such healthy living.
In addition, the baby is more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow.
“Breastfeeding is also linked to higher IQ in childhood life. Lactating mothers should take this warning seriously as any fault at this stage is completely irreversible”, states Kudate.
It should also be noted that breastfeeding enhances bonding of the mother and the child. This emanates from the physical closeness, skin-to-skin connection and the eye contact made during breastfeeding.
Benefit to the mother
Breastfeeding mothers lose pregnancy weight fast courtesy of lactation.
It helps in burning extra calories. This is possible because of the release of the hormone oxytocin which enables the uterus to return to its normal size.
Furthermore, lactation is helpful in reducing bleeding after birth for the mothers.
Lactation also helps the mother in reducing the risk of some forms of cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.
“For breast cancer, lactation exercise ensures that there is no accumulation of milk which can lead to abnormal, cancerous growth within breast tissues.
And for ovarian cancer, it produces special antibodies for protein that suppress ovulation” she concludes adding that the significant of breastfeeding cannot be underestimated under normal circumstances.
Only 36 percent of infants aged 0- 6 months worldwide were exclusively breastfeed over the period of 2007 to 2014.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, no country fully meets recommended standard for breastfeeding.
WHO and UNICEF recommend early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months.
It also recommends introduction of solid food at six months along with continued breastfeeding for two years or beyond.
By Joseph Macharia