CAIRO – 16 April 2018: Breastfeeding is an amazing and emotional experience for both the mother and the baby due to physical closeness and eye contact that helps the baby bond with its mother and feel secure. While it is a total personal choice whether to breastfeed or not, health practitioners and infant-nutrition experts highlight that breastfeeding within the first hour of birth is vital to a child’s lifelong health as it has the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, antibiotics and fat necessary for a baby to grow healthy and to fight viruses and bacteria. Moreover, the breast milk is more easily digested that formula.
According to the WebMD, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than becoming overweight or diabetic and they go to the hospital less frequently. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also highlight that breastfeeding plays a role in preventing sudden infant death syndrome.
As for the mother, breastfeeding helps in losing the pregnancy weight faster as you burn calories while you breastfeed. It also reduces the risk of breast cancer and helps in releasing the hormone oxytocin that helps the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size.
Despite knowing these facts, sometimes mothers choose not to breastfeed for a group of reasons but mainly it is because they do not feel comfortable to breastfeed in public and due to lack of support.
Earlier this week the United Nations Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) issued a ten-step guidance to increase support for breastfeeding. The two organizations explained that breastfeeding during the first two years of a newborn life can save more than 820,000 children under the age of five annually.
The recently issued guidance is part of the “Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative” that both organizations launched in 1991 and it aims to encourage new moms to breastfeed while informing health worker how best to support these moms.
The Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta H. Fore, said in a press release issued by the organization that,”breastfeeding saves lives. Its benefits help keep babies healthy in their first days and will last into adulthood. But breastfeeding requires support, encouragement and guidance. With these basic steps, implemented properly, we can significantly improve breastfeeding rates around the world and give children the best possible start in life."
The guidance provides examples and ideas of how people around mothers can provide them with the necessary support to promote breastfeeding.
Examples of how employers can support breastfeeding mothers – courtesy of WHO
Examples of how law makers can support breastfeeding mothers - courtesy of WHO
Examples of what can be done in the workplace to support breastfeeding mothers - courtesy of WHO
Examples of what co-workers can do to support breastfeeding mothers – courtesy of WHO
Examples of what mums can do to ease their breastfeeding experience – courtesy of WHO
Examples of what fathers can do to ease their breastfeeding wives – courtesy of WHO
Examples of how family and friends can support breastfeeding women – courtesy of WHO