Breastfeeding is on the rise. As more and more parents find out about the benefits of breastfeeding for momma and babe, the old trend of bottle babies is slowly fading away. Unfortunately breastfeeding rates are still not optimum but with increased education about the benefits of breastfeeding, these rates are increasing.

The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

To enable mothers to establish and sustain exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, WHO and UNICEF recommend:

  • Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life
  • Exclusive breastfeeding – that is the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, not even water
  • Breastfeeding on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night
  • No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers

 

Benefits of breastfeeding for baby: 

Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide much of the childs nutritional needs for the rest of the duration of breastfeeding. 

Breastmilk promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea or pneumonia, and helps for a quicker recovery during illness. 

 

Benefits of breastfeeding for momma:

Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers, it helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, increases family and national resources, is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment.

 

Breastfeeding does not always come easy. Myself and Cedar had difficulties with latch for over a month. It took us a while to get into good habits but not without the help of our midwives, lactation consultants, much reading and determination. I knew breast was best and despite pressures to give her the bottle we stuck with it and I am very grateful for that. Breastfeeding not only helps us maintain an intimate bond, but I attain it to be one of the main reasons that Cedar rarely gets sick! If you or someone you know is having troubles breastfeeding, please remember that the baby who immediately gets a perfect latch is quite rare and that breastfeeding is a team effort where both people are learning something new which can require much patience. The resources for help is numerous; please refer to the websites below or your community health nurse and/or doula for more help. 

 

Resources:

breastfeeding.com

drjacknewman.com

lalecheleaguecanada.ca

http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/

ilca.org

motherfriendly.org