August marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of breastfeeding around the world. This week was established by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). 

WHO works to support, empower and encourage individuals in their breastfeeding journey. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated annually on August 1-7 and the theme for 2022 is "Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support".

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According to a UNICEF report, about 60 percent of the world's children do not receive the required amount of breast milk for 6 months.

Women have a misconception that their beauty will diminish and they need to come out of it. Breast milk contains all the nutrients that babies need. It cures the disease caused by buying milk outside and giving it to the baby. It can also prevent malnutrition. Reduces stress in women after delivery. Prevents breast cancer. We should all encourage breastfeeding.

Awareness about breastfeeding is high in rural areas and less in urban areas. Women have a misconception that their beauty will diminish and they need to come out of it. He said that women do not get breast cancer and breast tumor caused by milk retention due to breastfeeding.

Exclusive breastfeeding provides babies with perfect nutrition, protection from respiratory infections, diarrhoeal disease and Protection against obesity and non-communicable diseases, protection against allergies, eczema and asthma.Decrease in infant mortality rate and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It also leads to less illness and fewer hospitalizations.

The Natural antibodies present in breast milk protect babies from conditions like Gastritis, Pneumonia, Diabetes, Diarrhea,Obesity-related illnesses and it also Increases IQ among children. With a strong immune system, Breastfed babies cry less overall, and have fewer cases of childhood illness. It gives protection against bacterial meningitis and good eyesight.

Also, skin-to-skin contact helps a mother bond with her baby and supports better physical and developmental outcomes for the baby.

Josphin urgers the government to open an In India, there are many cases of newborns not getting enough milk in the first few days as the mother could be sick, have some infectious disease or not produce enough milk. The human milk bank will be the best option for such babies.

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In India, the practice of wet-nursing (breastfeeding by someone in the family or an acquaintance) exists. But doctors say such practice has drawbacks, for instance, the breastfeeding woman may have some infection that could then be transmitted to the baby.

The best option for babies in such case is pasteurised donor milk, stored in a milk bank. In the milk bank, we will collect milk from lactating women who are willing to donate. It will then be pasteurised and stored in deep freeze, as such the milk can be stored from 6 months to 6 years.

*Writer Josphin Singh is Vice Chairperson PRAGATI

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