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World Breastfeeding Week 2021: Newborns Are Prone To Infections, But Breast Milk Acts Like A Vaccine

Breast milk is like a child's first vaccine. Here are some incredible powers of the mother's milk you didn't know about.

After giving birth, a mother undergoes a lot of changes in her body, physically as well as emotionally which is a big change for her. One of the things that happen in the body after giving birth to a child is that the body starts producing milk. All of us know that newborns are vulnerable to infections, and they cannot be vaccinated as infants below the age of 6 to 7 months are not allowed any kind of vaccine or flu shots. So, how does a child remain protected against the risk of such unwanted infections? It is through the mother.

On the occasion of the World Breastfeeding Week 2021, Dr Lini Balakrishnan, Consultant Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Sarjapur, Bangalore, highlighted some amazing powers of breastmilk.

"The breast milk that the mother feeds her baby is one of a kind and is like the child's first vaccine against the risk of infections. Mother's milk is like a flu shot or vaccine with a bunch of antibodies that the baby gets through the mother's body. There can be nothing better than a mother's milk for a newborn child," she said.

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The incredible powers of a mother's milk

There are a lot of benefits for a baby if he or she feeds on its mothers' milk. Dr Lini pointed out some:

  • Once the baby meets the mother and there is a mix of the baby's saliva with the mother's milk, the mother's body understands the needs of the baby and customizes the breast milk according to the requirements of the baby.
  • The rate of allergies in the milk provided by mothers is lower. The chances of getting an ear or lung infection are also low.
  • Breast milk is rich in the vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies that the baby needs in the first six to twelve months of his or her life.
  • There is a lesser chance of sudden infant death (without any cause).
  • Milk provides an immune system for the baby to fight off unwanted infections as the baby cannot get any kind of flu shots or vaccines. So, breast milk works as a natural vaccine for the child.
  • The odds of the baby being obese is also very low.
  • The breast milk is like a balanced diet for the baby, and it also helps in the growth of the infant which is extremely essential.
  • Breastfeeding also gives the baby and mother to have skin-on-skin contact which is very important to create a bond between the two.
  • The child will have a healthy weight gain that is necessary for a baby his or her age.
  • It is recommended by doctors all around the world that the baby must be fed breast milk within the first hour of them being born and then must continue breastfeeding for 6 months to 1-year.
  • Studies say that the children who have been fed breast milk as a child, are much more likely to become healthy adults with a lower risk of allergies, skin defects, asthma, and other life-threatening diseases. It has also been said that breast milk, not only reduced the risk of life-threatening diseases it also reduces the gravity of the health issue if faced with one.

There are a few benefits for the mother as well when she is breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding helps reduce the uterine bleeding.
  • Breastfeeding decreases the risk of ovarian, uterine, and breast cancer.
  • It helps burn calories.
  • It also delays or reduces the probability of the mother getting arthritis, osteoporosis, heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

So, breast milk not only has benefits for the baby which lasts till adulthood but also has benefits for the mother.

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