FOR APPOINTMENTS +91 40 47 201 201

Health Advantages of Breastfeeding for Baby & Mother

Over the past decades, evidence for the health advantages of breastfeeding and recommendations for practice have continued to increase. WHO can now say with full confidence that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods.

Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child's nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.
Breastmilk promotes sensory and cognitive development and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea or pneumonia and helps for a quicker recovery during illness.
Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers, it helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, increases family and national resources, is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment.
While breastfeeding is a natural act, it is also a learned behaviour. An extensive body of research has demonstrated that mothers and other caregivers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices. WHO and UNICEF launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1992, to strengthen maternity practices to support breastfeeding. The BFHI contributes to improving the establishment of exclusive breastfeeding worldwide and, coupled with support throughout the health system, can help mothers sustain exclusive breastfeeding.

Below are some tips for successful breastfeeding:

  1. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.
  2. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.
  3. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.
  4. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.
  5. Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  6. Enable mothers and their infants to remain together and to practise rooming-in 24 hours a day.
  7. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants' cues for feeding.
  8. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, teats and pacifiers.
  9. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.

What are the benefits of breast-feeding beyond infancy?

For the baby:

  • Balanced nutrition - Breast milk is considered the gold standard for infant nutrition. As your baby gets older, the composition of your breast milk will continue to change to meet his or her nutritional needs. There's no known age at which breast milk is considered to become nutritionally insignificant for a child.
  • Boosted immunity - As long as you breast-feed, the cells, hormones and antibodies in your breast milk will continue to bolster your baby's immune system.
  • Improved health - Research suggests that the longer breast-feeding continues and the more breast milk a baby drinks, the better his or her health might be.

For the mother:

  • Reduced risk of certain illnesses - Breastfeeding beyond infancy — as well as breast-feeding for 12 months or more cumulatively in life — has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Improved health - Research suggests that the longer breast-feeding continues and the more breast milk a baby drinks, the better a mother's health might be.

What role does breast milk play in an older baby's diet?

It depends on how much breast milk your baby is drinking.
After age 1, a baby might continue to regularly drink a moderate amount of breast milk. As a result, breast milk will continue to be a major source of nutrients for him or her. Other babies, however, might use solid foods to meet their nutritional needs and only want small amounts of breast milk.
If you have questions about your baby's diet or the role breast milk might play in it as he or she grows, talk to your baby's doctor or your health care provider.

Will breastfeeding beyond infancy make the weaning process more difficult?

Not necessarily.
It's often easiest to begin weaning when your baby initiates the process — which might be sooner or later than you expect.
Weaning often begins naturally at about age 6 months, when solid foods are typically introduced. Some babies begin to gradually transition from breast milk and seek other forms of nutrition and comfort closer to age 1. Others might not initiate weaning until their toddler years when they become less willing to sit still during breast-feeding.

HEALTH CHECK-UP PACKAGES

We offer comprehensive health check-up packages to check the overall functioning of different body systems. Below are more than 15 of the packages that we offer.



View Packages