What do we know?
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies be nourished through breastfeeding only, with no other liquids or foods, during the first six months of life.
- The WHO also recommends that mothers continue to breastfeed their children while also giving them other appropriate foods, until the age of two, if both mother and child are comfortable with it.
- Many studies have confirmed the benefits of breastfeeding for the child’s nutrition, growth and development, as well as for the mother’s health.
- Mother’s milk contains substances that nourish and protect your baby from infections.
- Mother’s milk also contains fatty acids that are essential to the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system.
- Breastfeeding promotes your young child’s intellectual development.
- Breastfeeding makes your baby more resistant to infections such as diarrhea, otitis (ear infections) and pneumonia.
- In suckling, your baby learn to control his appetite as he stop drinking when he is no longer hungry. This learning helps prevent him from gaining excess weight.
- The warm contact provided by breastfeeding strengthens the relationship of emotional security between you and your child.
- Researchers have observed that breastfeeding mothers have more self-confidence, less stress, and fewer bad moods.
Paying attention to...
- the fact that breastfeeding is natural, but may need to be learned.
- the fact that certain actions make breastfeeding easier during the first few days after birth.
- the fact that breastfeeding is easier when the mother is supported and encouraged by those around her.
What can be done?
- Start to become informed, from the beginning of the pregnancy, if breasfeeding support services are offered in your community, such as support groups or breastfeeding peer counsellors.
- Encourage persons close to you, to become well informed about breastfeeding.
- Start breastfeeding as soon as possible after childbirth.
- Room in with your baby right from birth to help recognize your baby's hunger signals and make breastfeeding easier.
- Identify people who have a positive approach to breastfeeding and call on them as needed for support and encouragement.
- Ask for and accept help from those around you.
- Attend, if available, information meetings on breastfeeding with other parents for discussion and reassurance.