WHO information on Breastfeeding

  • Posted: 8:02 PM
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  • Author: Mary

I was studying some material about breastfeeding for our Natural Family Planning teaching certification yesterday and read some great information that I wanted to share. I have heard all of this information before, but it continues to amaze me how Awesome God is and how perfect he created this way for babies to receive their nutrition. It is good for babies, mothers, fathers, families, and by extension, communities and whole societies. I know that as a mother we want to give our babies what is very best for them and He has given us the privilege of being able to make the perfect food for them. With all this information available, the only thing I don't understand is why don't more women choose to celebrate this? We are women. We are mothers. This is a special gift God has given us. Let us lovingly accept it!

"Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, 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

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 up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.

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. These effects can be measured in resource-poor and affluent societies (Kramer M et al Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT): A randomized trial in the Republic of Belarus. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001, 285 (4): 413-420)

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."