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Why Babies Must Take Breast Milk?
National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS)  reports in Nigeria showed that in 2013 the rate of exclusive breastfeeding dropped to 17%, this is one of the worst rates in the world by any standards, 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 US  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 babies who are not breastfed, there will be about 2,033 doctor visits, 212 hospital days and 609 prescriptions from doctors. These figures seem to suggest that if breastfeeding were to occur exclusively for the first six months of a newborn’s life, then families around the world could realize enormous savings over the child’s lifetime.
The question we are asked is what is so important about breastfeeding? Since the beginning of time, many authors and researchers claim that exclusive breastfeeding is important and how it affects the mortality of children and mothers. Expert pediatrician dr. Lanre Phillips refers to an article in the American Medical Journal  claimed that adults who were exclusively breastfed for 6-9 months had higher IQs than those who were breastfed for two to three weeks less. Biologically speaking, breast milk contains everything your baby needs for optimal growth and development; you don’t need 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 the size of an adult’s thumb, it can only take in between 12-20 ml of food at a time. Babies need 600ml-1000ml of breast milk per day, this figure helps the baby gain weight and develop organs. In addition to the fact that continuous breastfeeding helps with bonding, breast milk is completely and easily digested, leaving little or no residue. Dr. Phillips made it clear that breast milk can protect and stimulate the development of a baby’s central nervous system.
Breast milk contains long chain polyunsaturated acids, which are absent in cow’s milk infant formula. Breastfeeding should be encouraged in all societies; all over the world. It should be natural and instinctive, because babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months are 14 times more likely to survive the first 6 months of their lives than babies who are not breastfed (UNICEF) .
Breastfeeding your newborn can also reduce the risk of stillbirth by 45%  as well as adding many other benefits. Our babies need everything they can get to survive, so it’s instructive to know that breastfeeding is part of those needs and as a mother you have to give it your all.
1) Ezeaka, C. (2013). 17% of infants are exclusively breastfed in Nigeria: National Demographic Health Survey.
2) Landau, E. (2013). CDC: Many moms start breastfeeding, but stop. CNN.com
3) Mortensen, EL. et al. (2002). “The Link 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, 1-7. August 2014. Breastfeeding. Geneva: WHO.
5) Debes, AK, Kohli, A., Walker, N., Edmond, K., & Mullany, LC (2013). Time to initiation of breastfeeding and neonatal mortality and morbidity: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 13 (Suppl. 3), S19.
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