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Antenatal Breastfeeding

  • The appropriate breastfeeding plays a vital role in child survival, growth and development.
  • Breastfeeding helps protect the infant against some of the major causes of childhood morbidity
  • and mortality. The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively
  • breastfed from birth to six months and then breastfed alongside with age-appropriate,
  • complementary feeding for two years and beyond.  Unfortunately, infant breastfeeding
  • practices are still very low in many parts of the world and many women stop breastfeeding
  • earlier than they intended to.

Breastfeeding Benefits for the Baby

  • Breastfeeding provides all the nutrients and immunity a baby needs for the first six months of life.
  • By providing antibodies to fight bacterial and viral infections.
  • Reduce the risk of allergies and asthma.
  • Protect baby from common illnesses such as diarrhoea and ear infections.
  • Helps in minimizing the risk of SIDS, urinary tract infections and bacterial meningitis.
  • It lowers risk of developing juvenile diabetes and childhood cancers.
  • Good eyesight, intelligence, speech and jaw development.

Breastfeeding Benefits for the Mother

  • Helps uterus return to its normal state and aids in weight loss.
  • It delays the return of menstruation.
  • Good breastfeeding can act as a contraceptive.
  • Breastfeeding improves and protects the mother's health by reducing the rates of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

Breastfeeding Benefits for the Community

  • Breastfeeding saves food resources, fuel and energy.
  • Breastfed babies are healthier, hence, less demand on health care services.
  • Breastfeeding is more convenient and free of cost.
  • Breastfeeding is very environmentally friendly (no waste, no chemicals).
  • Breast feeding mothers have reduced health care costs in the long term.
  • Breastfeeding mothers have a lower rate of absenteeism at work.

Breast Feeding Education and its Importance

Antenatal Breastfeeding education teaches women about breastfeeding during pregnancy, before the birth of the baby. The main reason why women are unable to breastfeed has to do with lack of education and knowledge about how to breastfeed. Educating pregnant women on breastfeeding may help them to breastfeed longer. Along with that it is also mandatory to educate them on the health benefits of breastfeeding for both the baby and mother.

 

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