According to the World Health Organisation, breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. However, nearly two out of three infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months a rate that has not improved in 2 decades.
Shelly Singh, the Senior Consultant at Rosewalk Hospital, shares why breastfeeding is crucial for both mother and child.
There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and baby, some of which extend lifelong. The biggest reason is that nature intended it this way. Breast milk contains just the right amount of macro and micronutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties and antibodies from the mom.
The mother's mature immune system prepares antibodies against common microbes and these antibodies are released in the mother's milk. They coat the lining of the baby's gastrointestinal system and protect them against illnesses, often for life. Moreover, breast milk at the right temperature is not infected, unlike bottles and nipples, which could often be infected if not handled with care.
Breastfeeding mothers lose weight sooner than those who don't breastfeed. They burn around 500 extra calories per day and become fitter earlier. The uterus of breastfeeding moms contracts and returns to its pre-pregnant size earlier as well. Blood loss following delivery is also less due to the same reason. There are lesser chances of anaemia and urinary tract infection in breastfeeding mothers. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
As the mom bonds with the baby with this skin to skin contact, there are happy hormones that are released which leads to less chances of postpartum blues and depression. There is a greater feeling of self-esteem and confidence which is emotionally rewarding. Breastfed babies cry less and this shapes their behaviour for life. These mothers are able to read their babies' cues more and tend to be more relaxed.
Whatever be the financial status of the woman and household, breastfeeding is less expensive and safer than formula feed.
Benefits to The Baby
Babies whose moms breastfeed them have less diarrhoea, constipation, gastroenteritis and preterm necrotising enterocolitis. They have a stronger respiratory system and fewer chances of colds, pneumonia and other related illnesses. There are lesser chances of ear infections like otitis media and of infections like bacterial meningitis, and eye infections. They are also likely to have better vision.
These babies will grow up to be healthier children in later years too with less likelihood of allergies, asthma, eczema, obesity, childhood diabetes and will have a host of other advantages.
So Why Not Breastfeed?
The obvious benefits are healthier, fitter moms with fitter, emotionally balanced babies and children, physically and mentally sound for a lifetime. And, it is a more pocket-friendly, eco-friendly and natural option, resulting in a win-win practice. Give up the thought of the bottle and give your baby that nectar.
Read More► How to Deal With 'Long Covid-19' in Kids
Jakarta, June 30 (IANS) Indonesia has launched a Covid-19 vaccination program for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children aged 12 to 18, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin announced here.In his announcement on Tuesday, Amin said he welcomed the vaccine rollout for the above mentioned categories, who are all listed as vulnerable to Covid-19, adding that inoculation is a game changer in dealing with the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.Since the entry of the more contagious Delta variant, the number of Covid-19 infected children in the Southeast Asian country has increased by 12.5 per cent, according to data provided by the Indonesian Pediatrician Association.Indonesia's national agency of drug and food control BPOM recently allowed the emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 at a medium dose. Meanwhile, the Indonesian association of obstetrics and gynecology POGI recommended Covid-19 vaccination for pregnant women, especially those with high risk of being exposed. In a statement on June 26, President Joko Widodo had announced that Indonesia has set a target of administering two million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine daily in August in efforts to curb the surge in the number of new cases.He attributed the ongoing resurgence to the highly contagious Delta, Alpha and Beta variants.Indonesia has administered 36,581,555 Covid vaccines till date, including 12.91 million second doses.Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. the country has registered a total of 2,156,465, with 58,024 deaths.The pandemic has spread to all of Indonesia's 34 provinces.--IANSksk/
New York, April 12 (IANS) Women who breastfeed more during their reproductive years are less likely to gain weight and build up fat around their abdomen or around the heart, and thus lower their risk of cardiovascular diseases, according to a study.
Various studies over the years have demonstrated that women who breastfeed have a lower risk for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But the mechanisms behind these risks were not fully understood.
The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, focussed on the presence of excess fat, specifically visceral and pericardial fat in lactating women for 30 years.
"After accounting for lifestyle behaviours and other risk factors across the life course, the lower visceral and pericardial fat among women with longer lactation persisted," said Erica P. Gunderson, Professor at the Kaiser Permanente's Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in the US.
"... yes, breastfeeding more is actually beneficial to a woman's health and can help to prevent cardiovascular disease," said Duke Appiah, Assistant Professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre in the US.
Visceral fat is typically stored within the abdominal cavity near the stomach, liver and intestines. It can potentially increase the risk of developing heart attacks, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, breast and colorectal cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Pericardial fat is a deposit of fatty tissue located on the outside of the heart, and also may influence certain cardiovascular conditions.
Because these fats are related to insulin production and other cardio metabolic factors, weight change could influence the relationship between breastfeeding and these fats. An increase in pericardial fat also puts additional weight on the heart and can affect its contractivity, or how it beats, which also could influence other cardiovascular diseases, the researchers noted.
For the study, Appiah used a long-term study of cardiovascular disease that includes more than 5,000 adult women who were aged 18 to 30 years. The participants were monitored for more than 30 years.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants, and it provides protection against many illnesses. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat -- everything your baby needs to grow. The benefits of breastfeeding, skin to skin contact and rooming in of a new-born with the mother in most cases, far outweighs the small risk of contracting neonatal Corona infection from the mother, writes Dr Sudheshna Ray, Consultant Obstetric and Gynaecologist, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai.
"This is especially true for developing countries like India. Neonatal death in India is caused mainly from malnutrition and bacterial or other fatal viral infections. Top feeds increase the risk of infection as it needs a substantial care on sterilization and handling support. Moreover, Top feeding is expensive," Dr Ray adds.
Most importantly it can never match the immune agents that are present in BM for short and long term immunity to new-borns and toddlers. It is highly likely that if a Covid positive mother has already developed antibodies towards the virus in her blood, those would be carried to the baby through the breastmilk which itself can be protective to the breastfed infants.
She informs: "We do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk, but the limited data available suggest this is not likely to be a source of transmission. The likelihood of infection is more through handling of the baby and direct droplet spread while feeding. This needs to be minimised by taking adequate precautions like strict hand hygiene, maternal protective masks which are well fitted and properly handled, minimum handling of the baby and distancing when not feeding. If possible, expressed breast milk should be fed to the infant by a healthy caregiver, who is not at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19."
The precautions that a COVID positive mother should take during breastfeeding
Washing hands before breastfeeding or handling the baby for at least 20 seconds.
Coughing or sneezing in tissue and disposing it off immediately and also sanitizing/cleaning hands after it. <br>Sanitiser should have 60 percent alcohol
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces which comes in touch with mother
Wearing masks while breastfeeding or handling the baby whenever possible (in case it is not available, WHO still recommends to breastfeed the baby as benefits outweigh the risks)
There is no need to wash breast before every breastfeed. In case mother has just coughed over her exposed breast/chest then she should gently wash the breast/chest with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to feeding
Another way of feeding the baby could be pumping out the breast milk from the mother and send it across to the baby and feed the baby by a spoonor tube feed
As per Dr Ray, breastfeeding is beneficial for mothers as well. It forms a special bond between mother and the new-born baby. Breastfeeding also decreases health risks like breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It even burns extra calories and helps many mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight.
"New mothers need to be given proper guidelines by their respective doctors. New mothers should also keep in mind all the social distancing norms and avoid celebrating the child's birth with a large gathering of people as the risk of the baby contracting the virus from others is more likely than contracting it through breastfeeding.
The WHO says that breastfeeding may protect the new-born baby's health and thus should be continued. However, it is important for new mothers to maintain respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces. Breastfeeding must be encouraged for all mothers including those who are Covid positive," concludes the expert.
New York, April 19 (IANS) During the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, breastfeeding and the provision of human milk to infants is recommended by national and international organisations because it is effective against infectious diseases-- It strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother, say researchers.While the current coronavirus continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.In the study, published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania provides guidance regarding breastfeeding and COVID-19 and reaffirms why it is of paramount importance to promote and protect the use of human milk and breastfeeding."While it is unknown if COVID-19-positive mothers can transmit the virus through milk, in limited studies the virus has not been detected in human milk," said study author Diane Lynn Spatz from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.According to the researchers, during this current pandemic, there have been reports of formula shortages and price gouging the cost of infant formula. "We should use this pandemic as a way to increase the visibility of the critical role of human milk and breastfeeding for all families at all times and educate the public about the importance of the use of human milk and breastfeeding as lifesaving medical interventions," She added.The World Health Organisation has advised that mothers with any symptoms who are breastfeeding or practising skin-to-skin contact should take precautions."Practice respiratory hygiene, including during feeding. If you have respiratory symptoms such as being short of breath, use a medical mask when near your child," the WHO said.--IANSbu/na
New York- Even small amounts of breast milk strongly influences the accumulation of viral populations in the infant's gut and provides a protective effect against potentially pathogenic viruses, according to a new study.
The findings expand upon prior research that suggests that breastfeeding plays a key role in the interaction between babies and the microbial environment.
This latest research, published in the journal Nature, could influence strategies for the prevention of early gastrointestinal disorders, and encourage mothers to feed babies breast milk even when mixed with formula.
"These findings can help us better understand why some babies get sick and develop life-threatening infections in their first months of life," said study senior author Frederic Bushman from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
For the findings, the research team measured the numbers and types of viruses in the first stool -- meconium -- and subsequent stools of newborns in the US and Botswana using advanced genome sequencing and other methods.
Upon delivery, babies had little or no colonization, but by one month of life populations of viruses and bacteria were well developed, with numbers of viruses reaching a billion per gram of gut contents.
Most of the first wave of viruses turned out to be predators that grow in the first bacteria that colonize the infant's gut.
Later, at four months, viruses that can replicate in human cells and potentially make humans sick were more prominent in the babies' stools.
A strong protective effect was seen for breastfeeding, which suppressed the accumulation of these potentially pathogenic viruses.
According to the researchers, similar results were seen for infants from the US and Botswana.
The newborns' home country also played a part in the prevalence of viral infections. Babies from Botswana were more likely to have those potentially-harmful viruses in their stools at that 4-month mark compared to the stools of babies from the US.
"Location of the mom and baby seems to play a role, probably due to the kind and number of microorganisms babies are exposed to environmentally," said first author Guanxiang Liang. --IANS