Recommendations from WHO & UNICEF
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.
Infants should be breastfed on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night. Bottles, teats or pacifiers should not be used.
From the age of 6 months, children should begin eating safe and adequate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.
Let’s now look at some of the reasons as to why Breastmilk is the best food for your new-born.
Breastmilk is versatile: Breastfeeding has health benefits for the baby. It has health benefits for the mother. It feeds and calms your baby and helps in bonding.
Breastmilk is dynamic: The composition of breastmilk changes based on various factors. Some of the factors include climate, food you eat, antigens you are exposed to and also to the needs of your growing baby. When the climate is hot, the mother makes breastmilk with more water to aid in hydrating the baby. This is also the reason why water should not be given to newborns until one starts solid foods. The mother also produces antibodies when she is exposed to a certain antigen. These antibodies are then passed on to the baby through breast milk giving ample protection.
Breastmilk is unique: Breastmilk is the best food for your baby with functions such as a) antibodies to fight infections, b) nutrients for growth & development and c) enzymes & hormones with beneficial roles. No other supplement can replace the goodness and benefits that breastmilk can provide to a child.
Breastfeeding your baby has so much of benefits but comes with a fair share of difficulties and challenges to overcome. You should give it your best shot to breastfeed your baby for its obvious benefits. But, given the unavoidable situation of your inability to breastfeed, feeding formula is a suitable alternative. It is really important that you are never made to feel guilty for choices beyond your control.
We, at Little Sudhams promote and celebrate every mother’s successful breastfeeding journey. So, before you give up breastfeeding, please consult a physician or lactation consultant or approach a breast milk bank.