Indeed nothing can replace the genuineness of mother’s milk for the newborn. Hence, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to 7 each year in more than 170 countries to promote breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. In an exclusive interview with Salome Phelamei of Zeenews.com, Dr Neerja Varshney, D.A.,D.G.O, PGDHHM, HOD Gynae Dr Hedgewar Arogya Sansthan, Karkardooma, Delhi, & H.O.O Kanti Nagar Maternity Centre, Delhi, talked about the importance and the benefits of breastfeeding. Why is breastfeeding important? Breast feeding is important because: -It is a complete food for newborns-Breastfed children are more healthy and brainy-It reduces morbidity and mortality-It increases bonding with mother-It is economic for our country. Please explain how breast milk protects a newborn? Also tell us the health benefits of breastfeeding for moms. Breast milk protects infants against infections/ diseases. Colostrum, the first milk, provides natural immunological protection to newborn. It is a complex food rich in nutrients which promotes infant’s health, growth & development. Breast milk also protects babies against Asthma, Type I Diabetes, Necrotizing Enterocolitis. In mothers, breastfeeding helps her to get back in shape, decreases post delivery bleeding, protects against pregnancy, and enhances emotional and physical contact with the baby. Breastfeeding also reduces risk of Postpartum Depression, Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Osteoporosis. How many infants are breastfed in India? Initiation of breastfeeding in our country is only 24.5% in first one hour, whereas exclusive breast feeding for 6 months is 46-55.6%. Suggest some good food items for moms who are lactating. Whole grains, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, yoghurt, cheese, paneer (i.e food that provide protein, calcium, and iron). Are there any food items one should avoid? Mother can eat & drink whatever she likes but food leading to allergies should be avoided. Avoid Caffeine, alcohol and toxins. When should a baby start eating solid foods? After 6 months.
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