The sweet taste of Manna is likened to wafers that have been made with honey. It is the only form of sustenance the Israelites had as they made their way through the desert and into the Promised Land. For 40 years, all they could eat was this daily bread from heaven provided by the hand of the Lord expressly for that day. Breast milk, just like Manna is the natural sustenance that comes along with each baby purposely and especially as daily bread from its creator.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), which was first celebrated in 1992 is an annual celebration held every year from 1st to 7th August in more than 120 countries. It is organized by World Alliance Breastfeeding Action (WABA), World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”.
For a healthier planet, breast milk as the first source of nourishment for every single being has numerous contributions and lasting effects all throughout an individual’s lifetime. Here are some benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers as well; Provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It is a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat-all a baby needs for growth. Breast milk is perfectly designed for a baby’s digestive system and unlike formula, the milk the body makes changes in composition in response to the baby’s needs.
Breast milk contains important Antibodies. These antibodies help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. This particularly applies to the first milk called colostrum. Colostrum provides high amounts of immunoglobulin A, which protects baby from getting sick by forming a protective layer in the baby’s nose, throat and digestive system.
Breast milk promotes healthy weight gains and helps prevent childhood obesity. Breastfeeding lets the baby’s appetite call the shots. Breastfed babies self-regulate their milk intake. They eat only until they have satisfied their hunger which in turn helps them develop healthy eating patterns. Bottle-fed babies tend to continue feeding till the bottle is empty.
Breast milk has the potential to make babies smarter. Sign me up! Studies indicate that breastfed babies have higher intelligence scores and are less likely to develop problems with behavior and learning as they grow older. Breast milk contains key nutrients for brain development including arachidonic acids, cholesterol and omega-3 fatty acid DHA along with hormones like oxytocin, thyroxin, estrogen and other growth factors. This is not possible to re-create in formula.
Naturally safe meal. There is no need to worry about contamination or recalls when it comes to fresh breast milk. It is always disinfected. Spoilage is only a potential factor when the milk is pumped out and sits out or is refrigerated for a long time.
Breastfeeding for mom has the ability to help lose weight. For the first 3 months after delivery, breastfeeding mothers may lose less weight than women who do not breastfeed. However after 3 months of lactation, despite increased appetite due to body demands, they will also experience an increase in fat burning therefore leading to weight loss.
Uterus contraction. During pregnancy, your uterus grows immensely expanding to fill almost the entire space of your abdomen. Breastfeeding increases the production of oxytocin, a hormone which helps in the process of returning the Uterus to its normal size.
Breastfeeding reduces disease risk in a mother. Breastfeeding provides the mother with long term protection against cancer and several other diseases. The total time a woman spends breastfeeding is linked with a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Saves time and money. While a formula feeding mother has to wake up in the night to mix the baby’s milk through the wails and screaming of an impatient baby, a breastfeeding mother doesn’t have to go through all this hustle. Besides having a free milk option, she can grab some snoozes while feeding as well.
Built-in-bonding. Breastfeeding encourages a physical and emotional connection between mother and baby. This bond is the baby’s first and lasting experience of love and confidence in that love.
WBW therefore came up with the goal to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and then supplemented breastfeeding for at least one year and up to two years or more. This yields many health benefits, provides critical nutrients, protects baby from deadly diseases such as pneumonia, and fosters growth and development of the baby.