August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Henrietta Brewer
August 7, 2018

Proclaimed by Mayor Donald Cravins in 2013, that August be recognized as National Breastfeeding Month by the City of Opelousas and the Parish of St. Landry, and because World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally August 1-7, Opelousas General Health System plans to celebrate by hosting a free Community Baby Shower.

Breastfeeding also has a positive effect on the mother. As a perfectly adapted nutritional supply, breast milk is the ultimate personalised medicine which may save about 820,000 lives a year, 87 per cent of them infants under 6 months of age. "Colostrum is said to be high in antibodies and reduces the risk of death from hypothermia, helps in epithelial recovery and protects children from infectious diseases".

During the World Breast Feeding week which is marked in the first week of August and is themed as "Breastfeeding support: Close to mothers", experts highlight that infants who are not exclusively breastfed for the first six months are at a greater risk of death from diarrhoea or pneumonia than those who are breastfed. Even when poverty contributes to less-than-optimal nutrition or inadequate access to food, breastfeeding remains the recommended and most beneficial choice for the child and mother. Longer breastfeeding is associated with higher performance on intelligence tests among children and adolescents. Exclusive breastfeeding also helps to bring about bonding of baby and mother and helps delay a new pregnancy. The Baby-Friendly™ Hospital Initiative is a global effort sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

· If you are a working mother and returning to work, you can also exclusively breastfeed by pumping breast milk during the day, storing it in a clean container and asking the care giver to feed the baby in a palada.

No one can deny the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for the well-being of both the infant and the mother. It is important to note there are circumstances that make it challenging or not possible to breastfeed. Breastfeeding has a multitude of benefits for women and children, regardless of whether they live in a rich or poor household. Now is also an opportune time to reverse the rising trends in bottle-feeding that are putting millions of dollars into the pockets of companies that speak laurels of their infant formulas as adequate replacements for breast milk. During the same period, the rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40 per cent to 27 per cent.

The SBFO started its celebration of World Breastfeeding Week with a 20-hour training course on breastfeeding that was held on Wednesday in partnership with Khorfakkan Hospital. The HMOs are the third most abundant solid component in human milk after lactose and fat.

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