Breastfeeding has many benefits
THE first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week and this years’ theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting parents to think about how to value their baby’s wellbeing from the start of life.
Colostrum is the first milk produced by a new mother. Not only is it specifically suited to a newborn’s needs, but it protects against infection with its immunoglobulins, leukocytes, and anti- inflammatory factors not available in artificial feeding products.
Studies have confirmed that breastfeeding offers mothers protection against breast cancer, and that the risk decreases as the total duration of breastfeeding increases.
One of the leaders atEast London La Leche League (LLL), Michelle Swartz, said breastfeeding was the most natural and effective way of understanding and satisfying a baby’s needs.
She said mothers and their babies needed to be together early and often, to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.
“In the early years, the baby has an intense need to be with his mother, which is as basic as his need for food. Breast milk is the superior infant food,” she said.
LLL helps mothers to learn to breastfeed their babies, encourages good mothering through breastfeeding, and promotes a better understanding of breastfeeding and related subjects.
LLL is an international, educational, nonsectarian, nondiscriminatory service organisation.
“We have that policy in order to offer breastfeeding help to mothers with a variety of personal beliefs,” Swartz said.
Swartz said that the economic benefit of breastfeeding was that it was free and available round-the-clock.
“Mothers don’t need to eat more to make plenty of milk for their babies. A normal balanced diet is all you need.
“Breastfeeding promotes infant health because mother’s milk contains natural immunities, so you save money on doctor visits and expensive medicines too.”
Unicef former executive director, James Grant, said breastfeeding was a “safety net” against the worst effects of poverty.
“Exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward cancelling out the health differences between being born into poverty and being born into affluence.
“Unless the mother is in extremely poor nutritional health, the breastmilk of a mother in an African village is as good as the breastmilk of a mother in a Manhattan apartment.”
If you would like information, or need breastfeeding help, contact LLL East London on e-mail: breastfeedingel@ gmail.com or join the LLL South Africa Facebook group, or find a contact number for your closest group at www.llli.org