The Breastfeeding Awareness Month campaign is held annually every August. With this yearly observance, breastfeeding advocates highlight the benefits of breastfeeding both for mothers and their babies.
Now, they claim that something as simple as breastfeeding can help tackle the world's most pervasive problems and inequalities. Indicated below are some of the world's biggest issues that breastfeeding can address, as compiled by Mashable.
Breastfeeding helps families save money. When a mother breastfeeds her child, there's no frequent need to buy milk formula from stores. According to the World Health Organization, children can be breastfed for up to two years old and above alongside age-appropriate foods.
Poor Access To Clean Water
Mothers living in impoverished areas don't need to think about where to get clean water for their babies' bottled milk if they breastfeed them. WHO noted that breast milk is composed of 80 percent water, which means it's enough for babies to stay hydrated and healthy. It should be noted, however, that breastfeeding mothers need to drink clean and enough water so their babies' health can be safe.
Overall Health And Welfare
Breast milk serves as a baby's first vaccine. A new report from UNICEF found that early breastfeeding promotes children's healthy brain development, enhances cognitive performance, and encourages higher educational achievement by the time a child turns five years old.
Breast milk is also known for lowering the rates of diarrhea, pneumonia, and infant mortality in babies. For mothers, breastfeeding can help them lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, and type 2 diabetes, Mashable listed.
Breastfeeding occurs entirely in a woman's body and doesn't require other sources for the whole process. The formula industry, on the other hand, contributes to the harmful pollution suffered by the environment.
Making baby formula entails producing bottles, tin cans, and energy. France Begin, a senior nutrition adviser at UNICEF, said breastfeeding has "a very low carbon print," but the formula industry has harmful consequences to the environment, Mashable further reported.
Formula production and consumption generate waste that is non-recyclable. Those trashes are either incinerated or dumped in landfills.
Begin also said that the practice of breastfeeding can address gender inequality in the sense that it empowers women and educates men in the society. Women are commonly shamed whenever they breastfeed in public, raising the need for a society that is more breastfeeding-friendly.
But it's also important to remember that women empowerment means allowing them to choose how to feed their children. Society should offer support whether a woman opts to breastfeed or feed milk formula to her kid.
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