I distinctly remember one of my first nights in Madagascar sitting with my host family at the dinner table. I was busy pondering how I could finish the massive mound of rice on my plate when I looked up and saw my 1 ½ year old host sister yank her mother’s boob out of her shirt and chase down her rice with breast milk.
My jaw literally fell. Why was my walking, semi-talking, and solid food eating sister still breastfeeding? And….BOOB!! Boob at my dinner table –WHY??
This first boobie ambush was just the start and I soon adjusted to seeing them everywhere – in the market, in my house, on the street, on the bus, in the river, and just about anywhere else I went. After finally getting over the shock of all the boobs I remember wondering why American’s are so uncomfortable around breasts and why are we so disgusted by breastfeeding in public?
Now in honor of World Breastfeeding Week (yes, that’s a real thing) I thought I would share a few facts about the importance of breastfeeding – not just in Africa but around the world. It’s time we get over our fear and whip them out – because breast is best
Facts about Breastfeeding
- The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to 2 years or more. The first 6months exclusively and then with complementary, age-appropriate food.
- Breastmilk gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that boost a baby’s immune system and protect them from common childhood illnesses including diarrhea, pneumonia, the common cold, and other sicknesses.
- Exclusive breastfeeding (during first 6 months) is a natural form of birth control for women.
- Babies who are breastfed are less likely to become obese or overweight as an adult. They are also less likely to have diabetes and more likely to perform better on intelligence tests.
- Breastfeeding reduces a mother’s risk or ovarian cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding saves families a lot of money.
- Breast feeding helps mothers heal faster in postpartum
- Breastfeeding can help women to return to their pre-baby weight faster because the metabolic energy used to breastfeed daily is equal to the amount of energy used to walk 7miles.
- Human milk produces substances that promote sleep and calmness in babies.