Each year on the 1st of August to the 7th of August, we celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Week, a week dedicated to raise awareness of breastfeeding and promote healthy babies as well as mothers. We’re not alone though, breastfeeding awareness week is celebrated worldwide in over 120 countries.
The campaign focuses on encouraging and embracing breastfeeding, with the hopes to remove any negative associations including embarrassment. In recent years, Breastfeeding Awareness Week has been incorporated with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in order to make effective changes in such a contemporary issue facing our communities. By 2030, together with the UN, the world breastfeeding association intend to create forever lasting precedents and change for stigma of breastfeeding across the world.
As we near the end of Breastfeeding Awareness Week, we thought we would share some of the many advantages of breastfeeding that promote health and well-being for mothers and their growing babies.
- A mother’s milk boosts a baby’s immune system significantly, preventing any harmful bacteria or infections affecting the baby. For example: Ear infections, pneumonia, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), colds and flus. It may also reduce the risk of other conditions and diseases later in life including diabetes, obesity, leukemia, asthma, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Chances of developing conditions such as ovarian and breast cancer as well as heart disease are highly reduced for women who breastfeed.
- Breastfeeding saves families approximately 2-4 million dollars a year.
- The production of breast milk assists mothers to return to their pre-baby weight as it takes 1000 calories to produce breast milk.
- Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone prolactin that brings a sense of relaxation and wellbeing to the mother.
- Substances that promote sleep and calmness in babies is found in human milk, and allows for a strong bond and connection between the baby and mother.
- A mother’s breast can detect fluctuations in a baby’s body temperature and adjust her temperature to counteract the increase or decrease in temperature.
- Breastfeeding reduces a baby’s risk of cavities and the need for braces.
- Mothers who breastfeed sleep an average of 45 minutes more a night.
- Babies who are fed a formula based on cow’s milk or soy run a much higher risk of suffering allergic reactions once food is introduced. Breast milk is also easier to digest than formula.