|Breast milk is the perfect food to provide the right balance of nutrients for healthy growth and development of your infants. Most of the mothers can breastfeed, provided that they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and|
|society. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
Apart from the better child-maternal relationship, immunity and intellectual development, breastfeeding also helps to protect against childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is a global epidemic and Hong Kong shares the same trend. Nowadays more than 20% of our children are either overweight and obese. Researches indicated that the risk of becoming an overweight child goes down with the duration of breastfeeding. Most babies in the developed countries start breastfeeding, but within the first week, more than half of them have already been switched to formula, and breastfeeding can hardly sustain after the maternal leave of their mothers.
As one of the local professional bodies in nutrition, Hong Kong Nutrition Association aims to promote public health nutrition including breastfeeding. We hope this website can serve as one of the useful resources for pregnant women and mothers to serve their children better and reduce the risks of chronic diseases in their later stage of life.
♥ Benefits of Breastfeeding
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Author: Kendy Tam, Registered Dietitian (UK)
Member of the Hong Kong Nutrition Association
Why is breastfeeding so important? Breastmilk is not only the natural food for the newborn infant, it is also documented to be associated with a reduction of gastrointestinal infections and acute otis media infections. Recent analysis found evidence that breastfeeding was also associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes as well as breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the mother.
Breast milk contains not only nutrients such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and trace elements which are important in ensuring proper growth and development in the newborn infant, it also contains numerous immune-related components which offer unique protection against invasive infections. The protection doesn’t stop at infancy, it continues to adulthood. When comparing breastfed infants to formula fed infants, studies found in adults (>19 years old) who were breastfed had lower blood cholesterol concentrations in later life as well as a reduction of later obesity development.
Every year, World Breastfeeding Week which occurs from 1st to 7th August is globally celebrated in over 170 countries. The theme for this year’s slogan is “Talk to me! Breastfeeding-a 3D experience”, which highlights the importance breastfeeding support in 3 different dimensions. Normally, two-dimension means: time (from pre-pregnancy to weaning) and place (the home, community, health care system, etc). The third dimension now includes cross-generation, cross-sector, cross-gender, and cross-culture communication.
According to the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association, the Breastfeeding trend in Hong Kong has been steadily increased from just 19% in year 1992 to 69% in 2007. This rate is measured upon discharge from hospital maternity units which had introduced the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” and also complied with the “International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes”.
2. World Breastfeeding Week-accessed August 2011
1) Learn about breastfeeding in the third trimester of pregnancy:
2) Tell everyone about your plans to breast feed:
World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies in the first six months.
What are the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and what should you look for? The following statement is published by the World Health Organization, Geneva, in 1989
The hospital facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:
Healthy newborns know where to find mother’s breast and how to suckle. All they need is plenty of snuggle time with mother to practice and build up a good milk supply.
Your breasts will easily make enough milk in response to your baby’s growing needs. Most infants will need several feedings through the day and night, especially during the first weeks and growth spurts. Allow your baby to develop his or her own heeding schedules.
Breastfeeding mothers need extra nutrient in order to nurse the new born. The following are some key points for you to remember:
Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers may be afraid to limit their seafood and fish consumption due to concerns of mercury levels affecting the fetus or baby. As of 2010, there are now specific recommendations in the USA for woman who are pregnant or breast-feeding to consume 8-12oz of seafood per week from a variety of sources. (Keeping in mind that high mercury content type of fishes such as swordfish, king mackerel, should be avoided).
What are the benefits of including fish and seafood in the diet during pregnancy? Fish and seafood not only provide a good source of high quality protein and a variety of minerals, they also provide the highest level of dietary source of EPA and DHA. Fish such as salmon, flounder, whitefish, mackerel, sardines and seafood such as shrimp, calms and canned light tuna are all low in mercury and provides a good source of DHA.
DHA is an essential nutrient and needed in high levels in the brain, retina(eye) for normal nervous system development such as learning ability, memory and visual acuity.
For breastfed infants, the only source of nutrition for growth and development is from the breastmilk, therefore, the mother’s diet to include the above mentioned fish and seafood is important as it is a major factor for determining the level of DHA available for the baby.