Breastfeeding: What Risks Does it Bear on Mother and Child?

Last week marked the annual international breast feeding week. Commemorated every 1st to 7th  of August the week seeks to raise awareness, order promote and support the culture of breastfeeding for both mothers and children.

While breastfeeding should be viewed as a custom that every mother must fulfill for their newly borns, prostate it still remains a challenging task under certain circumstances.

Chimpreports spoke to Florence Nantulya a pediatrician at Nakasero Hospital to get a medical perspective on why breastfeeding is important as well as the implications involved.

She points out that breastfeeding is very critical given that at a very tender age, that’s the only means through which a baby feeds. Besides that, it also bears psychological and disease resistant significance between mother and child.

“Breastfeeding is the most natural event that happens after a mother has had a child – not just among humans but animals too. It is the natural way for a baby to be fed. However, it’s also creates intimacy and a strong bond between the baby and mother,” she says.

Dr. Florence Nantulya is a pedetrician at Nakasero Hospital

Dr. Florence Nantulya is a pedetrician at Nakasero Hospital

Regarding duration, Dr. Nantulya says a baby is supposed to be breastfed starting from right after birth up to one year. This she notes is because during this period, the baby has no alternative means through which it can feed.

“It’s however the first 6 months that are very essential and every mother should ensure that her baby is adequately breastfed.”

What then happens if this motherly obligation isn’t adhered to?

Failure to breastfeed a baby comes with a couple of health and psychological implications, she says.

Dr. Nantulya warns; “Some women often opt for formula (commonly called bottled milk) but this doesn’t build the same intimacy as breastfeeding does. The cuddling and the tender care while holding the baby on their laps is what creates a strong bond between the two.” The use of formula is especially common among working mothers who are usually too occupied to breastfeed as well as those who are distant from their babies.

“Formula is cow’s milk made artificially and it lacks certain nutrients that are present in breast milk. It lacks the antibodies that guarantee the baby’s immunity against disease infections especially within the first few months such as measles and intestinal infections that can cause diarrhea.”

Infact she stresses that a baby who is fed on breast milk requires no immediate vaccination given their protection against diseases.

Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to eats foods rich in energy, protein and vitamins. This is important because if a mother is deficient, there are high chances the baby will also suffer deficiency.

“This is why often times you see mothers carrying flasks of drinks. They need them because they are not just feeding themselves but somebody else (baby) too.”

There’s a common perception especially among civilized women who that breastfeeding makes their breasts sag. As a result, they refrain from breastfeeding their babies and resort to formula.

However, Dr. Nantulya disagrees with this notion, observing; “It is a common perception among women but it’s not true. I have seen many women who have breastfed but whose breasts are still in good shape. It also depends on one’s kind of breasts.”

“Women should also bear in mind that it’s better to have breasts that don’t look attractive instead of suffering from cancer. Breasts that don’t actually breastfeed are more likely to contract cancer.”

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