This week has been deemed World Breastfeeding Week, providing anopportunity to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding and toencourage everyone to support mothers who want to breastfeed. Oneof the most highly effective preventive measures a mother can taketo protect the health of her infant and herself is to breastfeed.It protects babies from many infections and illnesses, such as diarrhea and pneumonia . Children who have been breastfed have lower rates of childhood obesity . Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers. |
The Affordable Care Act has made significant progress to supportbreastfeeding, which include historic new insurance guidelines thatwill ensure millions of women receive preventive health serviceswithout a co-pay or deductible. These new guidelines, developed bythe independent Institute of Medicine, require insurance companiesto cover certain women's preventive services, includingbreastfeeding support, supplies, and counselling. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7August in more than 120 countries to encourage breastfeeding andimprove the health of babies around the world. It commemorates theInnocenti Declaration made by WHO and UNICEF policy-makers inAugust 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeedinguntil a baby is six months old and continued breastfeeding with theaddition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years orbeyond. Breast milk remains the one and only natural, complete and complex nutrition for human infants. It is nature's formula for ensuring the healthand quality of life for infants, as well as on through childhood toadult life. Just as importantly, breastfeeding promotes a veryspecial bond between mother and child that only a mother canprovide. Some Americans have the mistaken idea that today's infant formulasare nearly identical to human milk and that they are "almost asgood as breast milk", that is not true at all.
Formula-fed babiesare sicker, sick more often, and are more likely to die in infancyor childhood. Compared to exclusive and extended breastfed babies,formula-fed babies have a doubled overall infant death risk, and4-fold risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Peter Kinderman, a professor of clinical psychology at theUniversity of Liverpool, who was not involved in the study, said itwas a good piece of research with important findings: "Positive bonding between parent and child is known to befantastically helpful for development. This is more evidence of theimportance of breastfeeding and mother-baby attachment, not justfor physical health but also for the psychological development ofthe child." Maria Quigley of the national prenatal epidemiology unit at OxfordUniversity adds: "Mothers who want to breastfeed should be given all the supportthey need.
Many women struggle to breastfeed for as long as theymight otherwise like, and many don't receive the support that mightmake a difference." Promoting sound feeding practices is one of the main program areasthat the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development focuseson. Activities include the production of sound, evidence-basedtechnical information, development of guidelines and counselingcourses, promotion and support of infant and young child feeding atpolicy, health service and community levels. Written by Sy Kraft Copyright: Medical News Today Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today Additional References Citations.
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