Feeding of infants is critical to good health and survival, that is why exclusive breastfeeding is being advocated. The World Health Assembly defined exclusive breastfeeding as the practice of giving infants only breast milk for the first six months of their lives.
It is known to be the most effective way of checking infant mortality. It provides infants nutritional needs for the first six months and is a perfect combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fluids. Although vitamin drops, minerals, oral rehydration solution (ORS) and medicines may be given when necessary.
Other benefits of breastfeeding include; reduction in risk of breast and ovarian cancer, contributes to a longer period of infertility after birth leading to increased spacing between pregnancies. It also costs less than artificial feeding and requires no packaging. Globally, the world breastfeeding week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding, thereby improving the health of babies.
It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by various governments, policymakers and other organisations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Over 120 countries across the world are expected to participate in the 2018 edition’s celebration with its focus on Breastfeeding; “Foundation of Life”. Exclusive breastfeeding is encouraged and recommended for all mothers worldwide.
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