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Why Babies Must Take Breast Milk?
National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS)  reports in Nigeria showed that in 2013 the exclusive breastfeeding rate dropped to 17%, this is one of the worst rates in the world by any standard, according to the report, only 9% of breastfeeding mothers in Abuja breastfed their babies for the first 6 months as advised by doctors.
Researchers in the United States  found that $13 million could be saved each year if 90% of mothers exclusively breastfed their babies for the first 6 months of life. For every 1,000 non-breastfed babies, there will be approximately 2,033 doctor visits, 212 hospital days and 609 doctor’s prescriptions. These figures would apparently suggest that if breastfeeding took place exclusively during the first six months of a newborn’s life, families around the world could realize huge savings throughout the life of the child.
The question that comes to mind is: what is so important in breastfeeding? Since the dawn of time, many authors and researchers have claimed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and its effects on infant and maternal mortality. An expert pediatrician, Dr. Lanre Phillips, referring to an article in an American Medical Journal  claimed that adults who were exclusively breastfed for 6 to 9 months had higher IQs than those who were breastfed for two to three weeks less. Biologically, breast milk contains everything your baby needs to grow and develop optimally; you don’t have to be an expert to know that breastfeeding is important for babies because there is simply no better food for newborns.
A baby’s stomach at birth is about the size of an adult thumb, it can only take in 12-20ml of food at a time. Babies need 600 ml to 1000 ml of breast milk per day, this figure helps the baby gain weight and develop organs. Besides the fact that continued breastfeeding helps bond, breast milk is completely and easily digested leaving little or no residue. Dr. Phillips clearly stated that breast milk can protect and stimulate the development of the baby’s central nervous system.
Breast milk contains a long chain of polyunsaturated acids, which is not present in infant formula made from cow’s milk. Breast-feeding should be encouraged in all societies; in the whole world. It is supposed to be natural and instinctual, as babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months are 14 times more likely to survive the first 6 months of life than babies who are not breastfed (UNICEF) .
Breastfeeding your newborn could also reduce the risk of neonatal death by 45%  besides adding so many other benefits. Our babies need everything they can to survive, so it’s instructive to know that breastfeeding is one of those needs and as a mother you should give everything you can.
1) Ezeaka, C. (2013). 17% of newborns are exclusively breastfed in Nigeria: National Demographic Health Survey.
2) Landau, E. (2013). CDC: Many mothers start breastfeeding but give up. CNN.com
3) Mortensen, EL. et al. (2002). “The Association Between Duration of Breastfeeding and Adult Intelligence: 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child. JAMA 287:2365-71.
4) World Health Organization. (2014). Breastfeeding Support: World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, 2014. Breastfeeding. Geneva: WHO.
5) Debes, AK, Kohli, A., Walker, N., Edmond, K. and Mullany, LC (2013). Time to breastfeeding initiation and neonatal mortality and morbidity: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 13 (Suppl 3), S19.
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