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- HEALTH RESOURCES World Breastfeeding Week: Breast Fed Babies Are The Best Fed Babies ~ Sherrie Bain
This week is World Breastfeeding Week. It is observed in over 170 countries and was established to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies. This week commemorates the Innocenti Declaration. The Innocenti Declaration was enacted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) policy makers in August 1990. This declaration was created to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It acknowledges that breastfeeding is a unique process, and it also recognizes the scientifically proven benefits of breastfeeding.
The important thing to remember is that breastfeeding is encouraged because the overall benefits are undeniable. Breastfeeding can greatly improve the health of babies. Not only is Breastfeeding the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need, but it also provides protection for the breastfed babies against infectious diseases. However, it must be noted that there are some infections, including HIV, which can be transmitted from mother to child during breastfeeding. In addition, drinking, smoking, and using drugs, including prescription drugs, may adversely affect your baby. Therefore it's important for mothers to stay as healthy as possible before, during and after pregnancies.
In addition to the nutritional and immune benefits to babies, breastfeeding also has health benefits for the mother. Breastfeeding provides added protection against breast and ovarian cancer, and may also function as a natural form of birth control, if done exclusively. It should also be noted that if a mother isn’t breastfeeding exclusively, she may start ovulating again and become pregnant even while breastfeeding. For the reasons mentioned in this article, WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond. If you would like more information about breastfeeding please visit the official Breastfeeding Week website.