World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated on August 1-7 every year. WHO and UNICEF initiated this event to raise awareness on the importance of providing breast milk for babies, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. All the evidence suggests that it’s safe for mothers to breastfeed. In fact, the virus has never been found in breastmilk. A mother can breastfeed, even if she develops symptoms of coronavirus infection such as fever or a cough. The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the risks of infection.
Breastmilk offers the best protection and nourishment for your child. It contains vital antibodies and other nutrients that can help the baby’s immune system to fight infections with two key reasons:
Rich of Essential Antibodies
Newborn babies do not have the capabilities to produce antibodies that protect them from any bad bacteria and viruses. Fortunately, breast milk contains antibodies, such as colostrum which provides a “shield” for baby’s little and fragile body.
Colostrum contains a high amount of immunoglobulin A (IgA) that actively forms a protective layer inside the baby’s respiratory and digestion organs. It is proven that babies who consume breast milk in an adequate amount are immune to any kind of health problems such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
If a mother was exposed to any diseases, her body will develop antibodies to fight viruses or bacteria. These antibodies will eventually pass to her baby through breast milk, making the baby immune to those diseases as well. Of course, when a mother got sick, she must perform hygiene measures to prevent the transmission to her baby.
Reduce the Risk to Diseases
Giving exclusive breastfeeding can significantly reduce the risk of getting infected by numerous diseases and allergies for babies. Studies found that 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding has reduced respiratory and ear infections by 70% and 50% respectively.
In addition, breast milk also the babies from other serious health problems, such as diabetes, leukemia, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). As for the mothers, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
These two key benefits of breast milk help a mother to protect their babies, and of course, breastfeeding also brings a lot of physical and psychological benefits for mothers. But, please do remember to stay healthy as a healthy mother produce a good quality of milk. Let’s follow a healthy lifestyle to provide the best nutrition and protection for our little ones.