Jul 21, 2008, 7:49 AM
It is common knowledge that breast milk is good for the growth and development of the child. It is easily digested and efficiently used by the body.
The importance and benefits of breast milk to the child cannot be over-emphasized, as it creates a strong bond between mother and child through the act of breastfeeding.
Breast milk provides babies with their first immunisation dose from infections and bacteria.
Babies are also less likely to become ill with preventable conditions, such as pneumonia, which accounts for 17% of child deaths globally and diarrhea, which also accounts for 16%.
Breastfeeding improves the physical and mental development of the child. Several studies conducted on children of various age groups have shown a great increase in intelligence in children who are breastfed, in comparison to those who were not breastfed.
In 1998, it was estimated that breastfed children, between 6 months to 2 years of age, were 2 points higher in intelligence than those who were fed with formulas.
Similarly, in 1992, the intelligence of breastfed children, aged 7-8, was 8.3 points higher and in 1996 breastfed children, aged 9, was 12.9 points.
Mothers and breastfeeding women should make sure that their babies are well-fed with their breast milk to protect them from diseases, especially at a very early age.
In The Gambia, the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) has made significant strides in the area of exclusive breastfeeding.
This should not only stop there, but more efforts should be taken to promote and encourage exclusive breastfeeding. The feeding of babies with formulas should be discouraged as its negative impacts outnumbered its positive effects on the health of child.
It is our belief that it is only by doing so that our children can become more protected from disease, and it even boosts their intelligence.
breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best
choice for every baby.”