Zambia National Public Health Institute
All things being equal every human being postpartum has the privilege of having a fully balanced nutritional liquid meal –BREASTMILK- containing essential nutrients, antibodies and other factors important for growth and development .
Breastmilk, a uniquely superior infant feed contains 88% water; no wonder a baby is easily calmed. Other important nutrients include: Proteins; Fats; Carbohydrates; Minerals; Vitamins; and trace elements. Another important component of breastmilk is Immunoglobulins A (IgA), G (IgG) and M (IgM) which are essential to the immunological link that occurs during the transfer of passive immunity from mother to infant .
Breast milk proteins are key in infection-protection from infectious agents such as yeast, bacteria, viruses and coliforms, while fats are useful in brain, retina and nervous systems development, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins,
and are a source of primary calories. Carbohydrates, mostly consisting of lactose help to fight disease and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach with vitamins being essential to the infant’s health .
There is overwhelming evidence that Breast feeding should start immediately after birth, with exclusive breastfeeding for six months. The benefits to breastfeeding are overwhelming. World Bank – Human Development President Annette Dixon blogs “Breastfeeding can help avoid over 800,000 child deaths and 20,000 maternal deaths globally per year, from several causes including breast cancer and other forms of cancers, diabetes and other illnesses. In addition, breastfeeding is also one of the most sustainable elements of the food system, with zero carbon emissions and no food waste” .
The Health Press encourages breastfeeding and support the idea of longer maternity leave as well as establishment of breast feeding friendly corners. Some studies have indicated that to encourage and increase the rate of continued breastfeeding, there is a need for dedicated breastfeeding comfortable and clean rooms. We endorse the call by many that breast feeding is best for babies and must all play a part in making it a priority for all.
Please feel free to go beyond the editorial and look at the perspective on Rheumatic Heart Disease in Zambia and catch up on the status of some notifiable diseases in Zambia published in the Influenza and IDSR bulletin.
LIST OF REFERENCES
- Infant Nutrition Council. www.infantnutritioncouncil.com/resources/breastmilk-information/
- Hurley WL, Theil PK. Perspectives on immunoglobulins in colostrum and milk. Nutrients. 2011;3(4):442–474
- American Pregnancy Society. https://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/whats-in-breastmilk/
- Annette Dixon. Breastfeeding: A Foundational Investment in Human Capital. https://blogs.worldbank.org/health/breast feeding-foundational-investment-human-capital