Smiling like Sunshine: Breast is best!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Breast is best!

Two weeks ago, there was a programme  on BBC3: Is Breast Best . I couldn't watch it at that time since the baby was not asleep yet. But I was on the computer and it was interesting to see the reactions via Twitter.
I watched it on iplayer a few days ago  and felt the need to write about it.
There were a few mums on the show: one who had a rocky start with breastfeeding, one who was returning back to work and one who tandem fed her 5 year old and 3 year old sons. And there were some mums who would not even consider putting baby to breast and chose formula.
I am not here to judge anyone on their decisions whether to breastfeed or not. I am not judging anyone on how long they breastfeed.
We all know that breastfeeding is the most natural way of feeding a human baby. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until up to two years of age and beyond.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire.
If you look at the statistics,overall, only 35 per cent of UK babies are being exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, 7 per cent at four months and 3 per cent at five months.
The reason behind these numbers are another issue, whether women are not supported enough or whether they find it difficult going back to work and continue breastfeeding or anything else.What strikes me is that people seem to easily forget one thing: Breastmilk gives an infant the optimum nutrition s/he needs. Breastmilk continues to change according to the child's needs and age.
The minimum predicted age for a natural age of weaning in humans is 2.5 years, with a maximum of 7.0 years.
According to WHO, the average weaning age is 4 years old worldwide. This means that many mums still breastfeed their children at 3,4,5 years old and beyond. Whether we see it or not, whether we find it culturally normal or not, this is the fact, the most natural fact.
Breastfeeding a 5 year old is not weird. It doesn't make one a freak!
I am going to write more about this next week, but for now I am leaving you with a lovely song.