We are in the World Breastfeeding week which runs from 1-7 August.
This year’s World Breastfeeding Week in Kenya was launched on the 1st of August at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital by Mrs. Rachel Nyamae, Member of Parliament for Kitui South who is also the chair of the Parliamentary Health Committee. The theme for the week is Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life! The event was supported by Save the Children, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, IBFAN among others.
There is a crucial link between breastfeeding and newborn survival and health. Breastfeeding is a baby’s ‘first immunization’ and thus the most effective and inexpensive way to saving a child’s life.
I came across an interesting and informative newspaper article by Lina Njoroge on how breastfeeding is linked to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Below is a summary as was published on Sunday Nation of 3rd August 2014
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger:
Breastfeeding for two years and beyond provides nutrients and adequate energy, and can help prevent malnutrition. Breastfeeding is the most natural and low-cost of feeding babies. It is affordable for everyone as compared to artificial feeding.
Achieve universal primary education:
Breastfeeding and good quality complementary food significantly contribute to mental and cognitive development, and thus promote learning.
Promote gender equality and empower women:
Breastfeeding is the great equalizer, giving every child a fair start in life. It’s uniquely a right of women and as a society we should support them to breastfeed optimally.
Reduce child mortality:
Infant mortality could be readily reduced by about 13 per cent with improved breastfeeding and 6 per cent with improved complementary feeding. In addition, about 50-60 per cent of children under-5 mortality is linked to malnutrition, due to poor breastfeeding practices.
Improve maternal health:
Breastfeeding is associated with decreased maternal postpartum blood loss, breast cancer and the likelihood of bone loss post-menopause. Breastfeeding also contributes to contraception and child spacing, reducing maternal risks of pregnancies too close together for example anaemia.
Ensure environmental sustainability
Breastfeeding entails less waste when compared to formula production. With breastfeeding we have a healthy, viable, non-polluting, non-resource intensive, sustainable and natural source of nutrition and sustenance.
Combat HIV, Malaria and other diseases:
Exclusive breastfeeding together with antiretroviral therapy for mothers and babies can significantly reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to child to low level.
So when you choose to breastfeed, you make an investment in your baby’s future, your health and you benefit the society as well.
Ya mama ya bamba au sio?