Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy World Breast-feeding Week!!!

Happy World Breast-feeding Week everyone!

Breast-feeding is so important, for both bubs and mums! There are so many reasons to breast-feed and avoid using artificial substitutes unless there is no other choice and yet not enough people follow the World Health Organization's recommendation that babies should be fed breast-milk exclusively until 6 months of age and after that should continue to receive breast-milk until 2 years of age minimum.

Most of us have heard the phrase that "breast-milk is best milk" but do you know why? Did you know for example that it reduces the mothers chance of breast cancer by up to half, ovarian cancer by one-third and endometrial cancer based on the length of time the mother nurses? Did you know when compared to babies fed artificial infant milk formulas babies, breast-fed babies have a reduced chance of leukemia by 21% and breast cancer in girls by 25%? How about that it also helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mums? Did you know for babies when compared to artificial infant milk formulas it also results in a higher IQ by an average of 10 points, lowers the chances of catching common childhood illnesses and lowers the chance of such diseases as juvenile diabetes, asthma, allergies, ear infections, SIDS, bacterial meningitis, multiple sclerosis, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, vision defects, obesity in later life and even needing corrective orthodontia in later life? And that's just for starters!

In a study on Breast-feeding and the risk of post neo-natal death in the United States (Pediatrics, 113: 435-439, 2004) it was found that babies who were never breast-fed had a 21% greater risk of dying in the post-neonatal period than those who were breast-fed and the longer the child was breast-fed the lower the risk.

Breast-feeding really is one of the most important you can do for your baby, no formula comes even remotely close to mimicking the benefits of breast-milk. With very few medical exceptions, given proper support and help, any mum can breast-feed and overcome breast-feeding challenges.

Three cheers for breast-feeding mums and special cheers to all the mums who have had to overcome challenges and perservered to give their babies and themselves the benefits of breast-milk!

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