Each year, the 1st to the 7th August is dedicated to celebrating the benefits of breastfeeding. This week commemorates the signing of the Innocenti Declaration in August 1990. The declaration was signed by the WHO, UNICEF and various governments and organisations in a global effort to promote and support breastfeeding.
While the Thula Baba Project understands that there are cases where bottle feeding is necessary, we promote breastfeeding wherever possible.
There is significant evidence to support the benefits of breastfeeding, for both mom and baby.
Breastmilk contains important nutrients, antioxidants, and enzymes balances in a way that is easy for the baby’s body to absorb. When a person is exposed to viral and bacterial illnesses, their immune systems create antibodies that help fight these bugs. The antibodies that the mother carries are passed along to the baby through her breastmilk, thus boosting the baby’s immune system before exposure to germs . The WHO and UNICEF recommend that breastfeeding is introduced within one hour of birth and that the baby be exclusively breastfed for the next six months. When the baby is around six months old, nutritional solid food should be introduced alongside breastfeeding. The baby should then receive both breastmilk and appropriate solid food up until the age of two.
Studies show that breastfed babies grow up to be healthy children, with fewer cases of:
- Allergies and eczema
- Asthma and respiratory illness
- Crohn’s disease and colitis
- Speech issues and cavities
Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too! While breastfeeding, the hormones oxytocin and prolactin are released. These two hormones are responsible for stress relief and have a calming effect on the mother. There are also properties within the breastmilk that soothe the baby. The act of breastfeeding allows for bonding, both physically and emotionally, between mother and child.