Breastfeeding week is celebrated every year from August 1st to 7th to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding to a child. This year also it was celebrated with the theme “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. Raising awareness cannot be limited to one day or a week, especially with 51 babies set foot on the planet every minute in our country.
An individual’s health depends on genetics, eating habits, and the surrounding environment. The fate of the health of a person is decided in the first 1000 days of its life i.e. right from the day a woman conceives till the 2nd birthday of the baby. During pregnancy, the fetus takes all the nutrients from the mother required for its growth and development. A woman with healthy nutritional status gives birth to a healthy, well-developed infant.
Breastfeeding a child within 1 hour of delivery is the utmost responsibility of the mother towards her newborn. Breast milk is easy to digest, complete food for a baby which helps babies prevent various infections, improve cognition and brain development, and achieve physical growth. Mothers who breastfeed their child have lesser chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer, Alzheimer’s disease. Skin to skin contact during breastfeeding helps to build emotional attachment. A blessing certainly a bottle-feeding cannot offer. Formula milk lacks natural antibodies to build immunity and nutrients that stimulate the gut microbiome. Babies thrive rapidly during the first 2 years of age. From habitual ways of responding, emotional controls to vision, hearing, language development are all at the peak where complementary feeding with breastfeeding after 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding supports the process. Playing and talking with the baby also assist child turning into healthy toddler.
Formulae milk does not provide the benefits that breast milk offers. It is an end product of industrial processing, deforestation, greenhouse effect from methane emission (Gas realized from cows flatulence), and gives rise to tin, rubber, plastic waste contributing to pollution, thus an unhealthy planet. Pollution is killing millions by affecting growth during developmental stages in life and decreasing life expectancy.
We always want to give the best things to our child from education to teaching good manners; it’s high time we put clean air and water, the strong ecosystem on the list. Breastfeeding your child is the first thing a new a mother can start with believing “No one is too small to make a difference”.
Hopefully, our children would be able to see stars in Mumbai, good air quality in Delhi, Himalayan ranges from 100 miles in Punjab without any Pandemic Lockdown.