Breastfeeding is a keystone for the survival of infants exclusively during the early life as breastfeeding provides important irreversible nutrition for the growth and development of infants. Breastfeeding works as a 1st immunization to child with protection from common childhood diseases likes diarrhea, pneumonia, neonatal jaundice, cholera and many more. Breastfeeding is also an essential part of the reproductive process with necessary meaning for mother’s health. Still the society is not enable for this natural act of feeding.
India is supposed to be a “breastfeeding nation” but the rates of breastfeeding in the country do not support this claim. According to national data sources , about 44% of infants that is 12 million out of 26 million gets breastfeeding within the hour of their birth while the majority of infants are given formula milk, either powdered or liquid , or animal milk.
Breastfeeding includes various essentials nutrients that are mandatory for the proper growth and development of infants. These nutrients include free water, proteins, essentials fatty acids, carbohydrates in the form of lactose and minerals, vitamins and trace elements.
Breast milk also include immune related component that helps in the growth of the infant:
Secretory IgA– predominant immunoglobulin in breast milk
Bioactives Cytokines- These include transforming growth factor-b (TGF-b) 1 and 2 and interleukin-10 (IL-10)
Others- leukocytes , oligosaccharides, lysozyme, lactoferrin, adiponectin, interferon-g, epidermal growth factor(EGF) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1
Breastfeeding has different stages of lactations-
Colostrum- Colostrum milk is secreted during the 1st week (1-7 days) after the birth of the baby. This milk is rich in high amount of protein, has less fat and has a large number of immunization factors for the newborn infant.
Transitional Milk- Transitional milk secretion is produces approximately from 8 to 20 days after the birth of the newborn. It is a process of transformation from colostrums milk to mature milk.
Mature Milk- Mature milk is highly rich in fats as it helps in the growth process of the newborn. Mature milk is produced from 20days after the birth of the infant. It produces important non-nutritional components along with immune factors to the newborn.
According to the WHO recommendations breastfeeding should be a continued part of child’s diet plan till 2 year of age and later it can continue depending on mother and child health.
WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK:
It was initially started in 1992 and was celebrated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, and after that, breastfeeding week is being celebrated in more than 120 countries across the globe by UNICEF, WHO and by governments and associations of the countries.
World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have underlined breastfeeding to a great length as it promotes the healthy living for both the mother and the infant.
To mark the importance of breastfeeding, an entire week is dedicated to spread awareness and educate people on the importance of breastfeeding. The World Breastfeeding Week is organized from August 1 to August 7 of every year all across the world.
The week aims to bring down the progressive and permanent changes in the social living and sooner and later healthy and disease free social living. Family, community leaders, trained health workers, lactation consultants, friends and partners, can generally support to help a continuous breast feeding.
Every year the week is followed by a specific theme and this year the theme is- ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’.
The team of doctors at Metro Group of Hospitals lays special focus and counsel expecting mothers to promote breastfeeding.