“Why should I subject myself to the torture, inconvenience, and pains of breastfeeding my child for 4-6 whole months? I can’t afford to indulge in such torment.”
This and a few statements are made by women who believe that exclusive breastfeeding has little or no benefits, and of course, the aesthetic reasons for keeping their shape together.
What is Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is when a mother feeds her baby with breastmilk, usually directly from the breast. However, it can as well be expressed to be given through a feeding bottle. Exclusive breastfeeding is the act of breastfeeding an infant within the first 4-6 months of life, without any other forms of fluid or water. According to WHO, Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. However, nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months—a rate that has not improved in 2 decades.
Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants, it contains the essential nutritional values at their various adequate proportions. For example, antibodies help to protect the child against common childhood diseases. Breastmilk is cheap, easily prepared (you don’t need gas and a cooking pot to prepare, lol), and easily accessible and available, unless in rare cases.
WHO and UNICEF recommend that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life—meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water. Furthermore, infants should be breastfed on demand—that is, as often as the child wants, day and night. It is usually every 2-3 hours, and the interval may increase as the child grows.
Why is Breastfeeding Important?
Here are some of the reasons why you should advocate for exclusive breastfeeding, whether you just put to bed or you know someone who is about to; your wife, colleague, neighbor, or boss:
Breastmilk contains just the right amount of nutrients for infants, proving to be great for brain growth and nervous system development, especially for premature babies.
Breastmilk is a strong illness-inhibiting food; it helps to strengthen the infant’s immune system and prevent harmful bacteria growth.
The mother is not left out as well; she gets to enjoy bonding, burns calories while breastfeeding, as well as a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, even diabetes, later in life.
With this concise exposition, you would dare to challenge anyone who relegates the act of breastfeeding to a thing of the past or has lost its importance.
To the breastfeeding mothers:
Go and breastfeed your child now!
National Women’s Health Information Center: “Benefits of Breastfeeding.”