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Importance of Exclusive Breastfeeding.

Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is essential to ensure the growth, health, and development of children to their full potential. It has been recognized worldwide that breastfeeding is beneficial for both the mother and child, as breast milk is considered the best source of nutrition for an infant.

Exclusive breastfeeding is the process of feeding infants only breast milk for some time, be it directly from the breast or expressed. Exclusive breastfeeding is one of the essential actions for infant development and survival.

Below is a list of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.

Provides perfect nutrition.

Breast milk is the best food to help your baby grow and develop. It is custom-made by each mother for her baby. Breast milk has the perfect amount of water, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals, and is easy to digest. These nutrients are major prerequisites to the health and survival of the baby. 

Provides protection.

Breast milk helps your baby fight off sickness and disease. After birth, the first milk your breasts make is called colostrum. It helps to stop harmful germs that can make your baby sick. Colostrum does this by coating your baby's digestive system so that germs have no place to grow. This protection is even more important if your baby is born early (premature).

Ready and portable.

Breast milk is always fresh and at exactly the right temperature. It is ready for your baby whenever they are ready to eat. This makes feedings so much easier. Since breast milk is always with you, traveling or shopping with your baby is easier.

Good for mothers too.

Breastfeeding can protect mothers from many diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Your body uses energy to make milk, so breastfeeding can help you to lose the weight that you gained during pregnancy.

Exclusive breastfeeding may also delay the return of your periods for at least a little while. It is important to know that you can still get pregnant even if your periods do not start.

Promotes baby’s healthy weight.

Exclusive breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain and helps prevent childhood obesity. Exclusively breastfed babies also self-regulate their milk intake. They’re better at eating only until they’ve satisfied their hunger, which helps them develop healthy eating patterns. Babies fed breast milk also have more leptin in their systems than formula-fed babies. Leptin is a key hormone for regulating appetite and fat storage.

For infants to survive, grow and develop properly they require the right proportion of nutrients. When a child is exclusively breastfed, their immune system is strengthened, enabling it to fight life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea amongst other infections. Reports indicate that babies who are not breastfed for the first six months of life are 15 times more likely to die from Pneumonia compared to newborns that are breastfed exclusively for six months after birth.

It becomes essential that mothers are counseled, supported, and encouraged to initiate exclusive breastfeeding. 

Content created and supplied by: Goldeen (via Opera News )

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