Research shows that if a child is fed with breast milk, he is less vulnerable to infections and malnutrition. If we study its composition, breast milk is abundant in Vitamin C and D, and has least fats. It contains PUFA, which is helpful for brain development.Due to the importance of breastfeeding, Government of India passed an act in 1992, Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Food (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act. This act was made to ban advertising of infant food, alternatives to milk substitutes, and feeding bottles.Although we all know that breast milk has a lot of benefits for the baby and for mom too, but breastfeeding is not popular in many countries including India. Many moms prefer dried milk powder or milk of goat, cow, and buffalo over breast milk, which is not a healthy practice at all.
Benefits for the mother:
Breastfeeding is a very safe and hygienic practice and has several benefits for the mother. Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive and creates space between pregnancies until menstruation returns.
Probably, the greatest benefit of breastfeeding is protection from breast cancer. Research shows that most women, who breastfeed their children do not suffer from breast cancer. A healthy practice saves ladies from a very serious disease.
Moreover, breastfeeding also prevents some other serious diseases such as ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and anemia.
Benefits for baby:
Babies need nutrients for their development. Each and every required nutrient is provided by breast milk. Many infants die in India due to diarrhea, but breast milk has antimicrobial factors which inhibit diarrhea in children.
Breast milk protects babies from allergies. Calcium and magnesium are never less than the required amounts in babies who are breastfed. Even though, it may be difficult for working women to breast feed their children, but seeing the advantages of breast milk, mothers must provide their children with breast milk.
It is very important to breast feed your child, but you need to take care of some important guidelines for breast feeding. These guidelines are as under:
- Always breast feed your child at night. This is because that hormone required to produce milk are secreted at that time.
- Always switch to the next breast once the first breast is empty with milk. This is due to the fact baby satisfies his thirst once the feed starts. His hunger is satisfied at the end of the feed.
- If the mother cannot breast feed due to any reason, do not switch to alternatives. The best way is to use expressed breast milk. Pump milk into a clean container and feed the child with it. You can store this milk for 6-8 hours at room temperature. But if you need to store it for more, you need to put it in a refrigerator
Seeing the fact that breast milk has numerous benefits for baby, it can be clearly implied that breast milk is ideal for children and also for mothers, as it saves them from breast cancer.