National Breastfeeding Week- Significance, Benefits, & History

To promote breastfeeding and enhance the health of new mothers and their babies, National Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1 to August 7. 

 

About National Breastfeeding Week

 

Every year the entire world honors breastfeeding week from August 1 to August 7. The week is celebrated around the globe to encourage mothers to breastfeed their children for the betterment of their health. The week commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed by WHO and UNICEF, government policymakers, and other organizations in August 1990. The declaration aimed to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding. 

 

History 

National Breastfeeding Week dates back to the ’70s when WHO started a revolution against promoting baby foods emerging in the markets. Brands at the time were interfering with breastfeeding all around the world. 

 

Powdered milk formula posed new challenges concerning health concerns for infants and children. WHO waged war against the brands and the markets on the grounds of the same. Something needed to be done. 

 

In the year 1990, policymakers and organizations came together after being inspired by WHO’s breastfeeding movement and together signed the Innocenti Declaration. 

 

Since 2016, the National Breastfeeding Week has become a Sustainable Development Goal. in 2018, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution endorsing Breastfeeding Week as an effective promotional strategy regarding breastfeeding. 

 

Significance of Breastfeeding

Nursing or breastfeeding is a way to provide young infants with the nourishment essential for their development and growth. The World Health Organization states that breast milk is the ideal food for infants. The milk is clean, safe, and contains all the nutrients and antibodies that infants require to be protected against various common childhood illnesses. 

 

Breast milk also provides children with the energy the infants require during the initial months of their life and provides the same nourishment up to the second half of their first year and a quarter of their second year. 

 

According to the guidelines of WHO, breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour of a child’s birth and should continue exclusively for up to 6 months. 

 

Breastfed children perform better on intellectual tests, are less likely to be overweight/obese, and are less likely to be prone to diabetes in the later stages of life, as per WHO and UNICEF. Breastfeeding is also great for women. Women who breastfeed their children have a lowered risk of developing breast cancers and ovarian cancers. 

 

Covid-19 and Breastfeeding 

Amid the pandemic, there has been a lot of misinformation concerning breastfeeding. As per the World Health Organization, the transmission of Covid-19 through breast milk has not been detected so far. Therefore, breastfeeding must not be stopped even if the mother has contracted the virus. 

 

Mothers can breastfeed their infants even if they have Covid-19, but they need to ensure they maintain distance from the baby at all other times, except when feeding.

 

Mothers should take certain other precautions before breastfeeding. Mothers should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If water and soap are unavailable or out of reach, hand sanitizer must be used with at least 60% alcohol content. Moreover, whenever the mother is trying to breastfeed the child, she should wear a mask.

 

Breastfeeding and diets

Pregnancy and breastfeeding are when women need more nutrients to meet the body’s excessive physiological needs and protect the health of both themselves and their babies. A breastfeeding mother should take 500-600 more calories than other women. 

 

When a woman is lactating, whatever she eats affects her body as well as the baby. To ensure breast milk is good, women need to eat well to help replenish the essential nutrients that the body loses through breastfeeding. The proper diet ensures breast milk is nutritionally balanced. 

 

What should lactating women eat during Covid-19?

 

The ongoing pandemic has brought certain challenges for women around the globe, especially women who are breastfeeding. Even if you do not have Covid-19 and are breastfeeding, you should focus on the intake of the following dietary essentials:

 

- Incorporate foods rich in protein, calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamins to have a balanced diet.

- Consume a varied mix of food items across all groups - vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and dairy.

- Consume food from each food group based on their color. For instance, vegetables like spinach, kale, tomato, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and lettuce. 

- Consume a protein-rich diet with foods like lean meat, eggs, peanut butter, legumes, beans at least two times every day.

- Do not consume foods and beverages high in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.

- Foods consumed must contain iron. Iron supplements can also be consumed for the same. Iron can also be consumed from food sources such as sprouts, dry fruits, lentils, green leafy vegetables. 

- Calcium can be consumed from food sources like cheese, yogurt, chia seeds, lentils, and beans. Vitamin D should be consumed from egg yolks, mushrooms, and salmon. Vitamin C should be consumed from food sources such as oranges, kiwis, papayas, sweet potatoes, cabbage, green and red peppers, spinach, and tomatoes. 

- The mother must consume lots of fluids to stay hydrated while breastfeeding. Drink a lot of water, coconut water, smoothies, and fruit juices. 

- Ensure that the food consumed by a lactating woman should be prepared hygienically with clean hands with clean utensils and fresh ingredients. 

 

Final Words

Globally, 3 out of 5 babies are not breastfed in the first hour of their life. In fact, as per WHO’s data, over 820,000 children’s lives could have been saved if they were breastfed optimally during the initial months of their lives. The National Breastfeeding Week aims to encourage people and women on breastfeeding, which is the right of every infant and child for optimal nutrition. It is essential for the overall growth and development of a child. 

 

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These antioxidants are crucial in neutralizing free radicals within the body, offering potential protection against oxidative stress. Citral, another prominent compound, contributes to the oil's distinct citrusy scent and is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.Benefits of Lemon Essential OilImmune System Support: The antioxidant-rich profile of lemon essential oil is a powerful ally in fortifying the immune system. Regular use may contribute to overall health and resilience against common illnesses.Mood Enhancement: The refreshing scent of lemon essential oil profoundly impacts mood and emotions. Aromatherapy with this citrusy elixir is linked to reduced stress and anxiety, creating a positive and uplifting environment.Respiratory Health: The inhalation of lemon essential oil vapors can be a natural remedy for respiratory issues. 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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS. Multiple immature follicles or Ovarian cysts

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The most common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, ovulatory dysfunction, infertility, weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth. Moreover, PCOS increases the risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer. Addressing these symptoms and potential complications is essential for a holistic approach to PCOS management.Methods to Manage PCOS1. Diet ChangesA well-balanced and nutritious diet is fundamental in managing PCOS. Consider adopting an approach that emphasizes whole foods, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates while minimizing processed foods and added sugars. Many individuals with PCOS benefit from low-carbohydrate or low-glycemic index diets to help stabilize blood sugar levels and manage insulin resistance. Consulting with a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance to meet individual needs.2. SupplementsSupplements play a supportive role in addressing specific deficiencies and imbalances associated with PCOS. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation associated with PCOS. Inositol, a type of B vitamin, has been shown to support ovarian function and improve insulin sensitivity. Vitamin D supplementation is commonly recommended, as many individuals with PCOS are deficient in this essential nutrient. However, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional to determine appropriate dosages and monitor for potential interactions with other medications.3. HerbsHerbal remedies can offer a natural approach to managing PCOS symptoms. Spearmint tea has shown promise in reducing elevated androgen levels, while chasteberry (vitex) may help regulate menstrual cycles. Cinnamon has been studied for its potential insulin-sensitizing effects. Integrating these herbs into a treatment plan should be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider, considering individual health conditions and possible interactions with medications.Learn More: 15 Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices for Powerful Healing4. ProbioticsMaintaining a healthy gut microbiome through probiotics can positively impact insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation associated with PCOS. Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables, or high-quality supplements can support gut health. Including these in your diet may contribute to a well-rounded approach to managing PCOS.5. Healthy WeightAchieving and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for individuals with PCOS, as excess weight can exacerbate insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances. Combining a balanced diet and regular exercise is critical for sustainable weight management. Working with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on nutrition and exercise plans tailored to individual needs.6. Regular ExerciseExercise is a cornerstone of PCOS management, offering a multitude of benefits. Regular physical activity helps with weight management, improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces stress levels. Both aerobic exercises (such as walking, jogging, or cycling) and strength training contribute to overall well-being. Finding enjoyable activities can increase adherence to an exercise routine.Check This Out : Workout At Home - Alternative Yoga Exercises 7. Sleep HygieneQuality sleep is essential for hormonal balance, and poor sleep can negatively impact insulin sensitivity and exacerbate PCOS symptoms. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a dark and comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime contribute to better sleep hygiene.8. Stress ManagementChronic stress can significantly worsen PCOS symptoms. Incorporating stress-reducing practices such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into daily life can mitigate the impact of stress on hormonal balance. Finding activities that bring joy and relaxation is crucial for overall well-being.9. Endocrine DisruptorsMinimizing exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in plastics, pesticides, and personal care products is vital. Choosing natural and eco-friendly alternatives whenever possible helps reduce the burden of these disruptors on hormonal balance.10. AcupunctureAcupuncture is an ancient practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Some individuals with PCOS report benefits such as regulated menstrual cycles and reduced stress levels. However, this method should be explored under the guidance of a qualified acupuncturist, and its effectiveness can vary among individuals.When to Visit the DoctorWhile natural methods can be beneficial, it's essential to recognize when professional medical advice is necessary. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, difficulty managing your condition, or contemplating significant lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare professional. Regular check-ups are crucial for monitoring overall health and addressing any potential complications associated with PCOS.Also Read: Natural Remedies For Polycystic Ovary Or PCOSConclusionEffectively managing PCOS through natural treatment options requires a holistic and personalized approach. Dietary changes, supplements, herbs, probiotics, weight management, exercise, sleep hygiene, stress management, avoiding endocrine disruptors, and even acupuncture collectively contribute to a sturdy plan. While these methods can benefit many individuals, consulting with healthcare professionals is crucial to ensure safety and effectiveness. Individuals can significantly improve their quality of life and overall well-being by taking control of lifestyle factors and addressing the root causes of PCOS.FAQsHow do we treat PCOS naturally?Natural treatment for PCOS involves a lifestyle approach, including dietary changes, supplements, exercise, stress management, and other holistic interventions.What are some natural ways to cure PCOS?While PCOS cannot be cured in the traditional sense, its symptoms can be effectively managed through lifestyle modifications and natural interventions.Are there any side effects to these methods?Side effects are generally minimal compared to pharmaceutical interventions, but individual responses may vary. Monitoring your body's reactions and consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial.How do you get rid of PCOS belly?Targeting abdominal fat through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction can help manage PCOS-related weight gain and reduce belly fat.What vitamin deficiency is associated with PCOS?Vitamin D deficiency is commonly associated with PCOS. Adequate sunlight exposure and supplementation can help maintain optimal vitamin D levels.How can I lose PCOS weight fast?Rapid weight loss is not recommended, as it may be unsustainable and unhealthy. Gradual, sustainable weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise is more effective and lasting.What clears PCOS?PCOS cannot be entirely cleared, but its symptoms can be effectively managed through lifestyle changes and natural interventions.