The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1st August to 7th August, encouraging parents worldwide to breastfeed a newborn, starting within the first hour of birth and extending up to 6 months.
WHO, along with UNICEF and other organisations, are diligently working towards the promotion of breastfeeding to improve an infant and mother’s health.
The significance of the week is not realized in many countries until children get diagnosed with unanticipated diseases and stunted growth.
The Bizarre Breastfeeding Taboo in India
More than the congestions on the road, Indians need to deal with the congestions of the mind.
The unmentionable word “Breast” triggers discourteous thoughts in most Indians. Association of the word breast with a low point of view has made our culture immensely weak.
A strong influential culture has the power and determination to push medical science above any prejudices. However, the case is reverse in our country.
In fact, mothers, especially in rural areas of India, shy away from the practice without understanding the consequences of not feeding breast milk to the baby. Not speaking openly about such serious subjects can be fatal to the baby and the mother, and indirectly impact an entire family.
Why is Breastfeeding a SERIOUS subject?
In a fast-bustling city, if you identify a mother breastfeeding her child in public, your first reaction needs to change from, – “Oh God! Why to do such things in public?” to “Thank God, the mother did not wait for the traffic to clear off.” Sensible, isn’t it?
According to experts, a baby must be breastfed within the first hour of the birth. The first milk produces a yellow-white, sticky liquid – Colostrum, which is rich in essential nutrients and antibodies that toddlers need in the first six months of their birth.
“First-hour feeding” is far from reality in our nation. Most rural and semi-rural Indian parents indulge in bottle milk within 2-3 days of childbirth. The first milk is not only mandatory for the infant but also the mother.
First-hour feeding triggers the release of oxytocin hormone, that ensures speedy recovery of the mother after delivery. The hormone is responsible for contracting the uterus after the childbirth.
According to doctors, a newborn should not be fed anything besides the mother’s milk for the first three days of childbirth. However, considering the lack of awareness in our society, most families offer the toddler bottled milk instead of mother’s milk.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
The top 5 benefits of feeding breastmilk to the baby :
- Mother’s milk contains all the nutrients for the baby’s ideal growth. And the first milk is most crucial as it includes essential compounds.
- Breastmilk is loaded with antibodies that help the baby’s body in combating with virus and bacteria.
- To ensure a healthy weight of the baby, there is no alternative to mother’s milk.
- Some studies also confirm that the breastmilk induces a child’s intelligence.
- Breastfeeding benefits the mother not only by toning the uterus but also reduces the risk of depression.
Stop Shying Away from Health Focussed Subjects
After countless campaigns and advertisements, we Indians are unable to accept the real medical issues lurking in society. Parents need to digest the fact – Breast milk is the cornerstone of a child. Every drop of milk promises the healthy growth of the child and the mother. Indirectly, the practice impacts the developmeeent of a sustainable and robust nation.
World Breastfeeding Week is a crucial period for humans. The promotions and campaigns designed reach every corner of the world, yet the positive outcomes are overshadowed by the stereotypic thought process of the educated but conservative societies.
Gone are the days when a lady needed to hide behind a curtain to breastfeed. Just like several other biological phenomena, it is time to view breastfeeding as another ordinary miracle of mother nature.
Stop whispering. Discuss breastfeeding loudly.