Did you know that the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week? This week is celebrated throughout the world with the aim to spotlight the many benefits breastfeeding provides for both mother and baby. Mothers are encouraged to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months, with continued breastfeeding, along with appropriate complementary foods, for at least baby’s first year. Breastfeeding provides babies with a healthy start that can last a lifetime, along with the precious benefit of emotional bonding time between mom and baby.
Not only does breastfeeding save a busy mother time and money, it also provides an abundance of benefits, not available anywhere else. Breastfeeding helps with a mother’s health and healing following childbirth, along with decreasing the risks of many health issues that can arise later in the mother’s life. Breastfeeding mothers are at a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding may also help mothers return to their pre pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding is also better for the environment, as formula cans and bottles create trash and plastic waste.
Babies benefit from the unique characteristics of breastmilk which helps to boost the baby’s immune system, protecting them from illness. This protection is unique and changes every day to meet the baby’s changing needs. Breastfed babies benefit from a reduced risk of allergies, asthma, certain childhood cancers, ear infections, eczema, obesity, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and type 2 diabetes.
Breastfeeding is something mothers can do for their babies, free of cost, regardless of where they are born. What other food can boast such wonderful advantages?