Breastfeed all babies exclusively until the age of six months.
Begin breastfeeding within the first hour after birth so that the baby can feed on colostrum. Colostrum is the thick yellowish milk that comes from the breasts during the first few days after delivery. It is very nutritious and full of nutrients that protect the child from infections/diseases and allergies.
Exclusively breastfeed the baby for the first six months and during this time do not give him/her any other food or drink including juice or water. This is because the baby’s stomach cannot yet digest other food and s/he may get diarrhea.
Why is exclusive breasfeeding important?
- It helps the baby to grow healthy and strong therefore not fall sick frequently.
- It contains nutrients that protect the baby from common childhood diseases.
- Breast milk is the best food made especially for the baby, it is cheap, easily available, at the right temperature and gives adequate diet for the first six months.
- Every mother can breast feed and the sooner the baby is put on the breast, the faster the milk will flow.
- When the baby sucks frequently at the breast, more breast milk is produced.
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Benefits of exclusive breastfeeding
- Babies who are breastfed are generally healthier and achieve optimal growth and development compared to those who are not.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding after six months can reduce the risks associated with diarrhea.
- A child who is given only breastmilk for the first six months usually grows well during this time. Breastfeeding helps protect babies from common illnesses and ensures good physical and mental growth and development. Infants who are breastfed tend to learn more readily than infants who are fed other kinds of milk.