Ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT -

Breast­milk con­tains all the nu­tri­ents and flu­ids a baby needs for the first six months of life. It is the first and best pro­tec­tion a baby has against an ar­ray of ill­nesses and dis­eases – it’s a crit­i­cal first vac­cine for the baby.

Breast­milk helps to pre­vent pneu­mo­nia and di­ar­rhea; two of the lead­ing causes of death for chil­dren un­der five. Ba­bies who are breast­fed are 14 times less likely to die than those who are not fed breast­milk.

Breast­feed­ing re­duces the in­ci­dence of death in new-born ba­bies. As new-borns ac­count for nearly half of all deaths of chil­dren un­der five; the longer breast­feed­ing is de­layed, the higher the risk of death in the first month of life.

De­lay­ing breast­feed­ing by 2-23 hours af­ter birth in­creases the risk of dy­ing in the first 28 days of a baby’s life by 40 per cent.

Breast­feed­ing helps in the cog­ni­tive de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren, mean­ing they do bet­ter in school, and longer breast­feed­ing du­ra­tions are as­so­ci­ated with higher scores on in­tel­li­gence tests.

Breast­feed­ing ben­e­fits not only in­di­vid­ual chil­dren and fam­i­lies, but also the en­tire econ­omy. The World Bank’s new In­vest­ment Frame­work for Nu­tri­tion notes that ev­ery dol­lar in­vested in pro­mot­ing breast­feed­ing can gen­er­ate a re­turn of $35 in eco­nomic ben­e­fits.

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