Breastfeeding: A strong foundation to a healthy life
“A healthy baby is a happy baby.” But, from where does this good health come from?
It comes from the caring mother who nurtures the baby from its womb until birth and thereafter. The first feed that the new borne gets is the mother’s milk. A drop of breast milk contains around one million white blood cells which protects the new borne as it exposes itself to the hostile environment. Breast milk is a power packed health drink for the new borne. It contains immunoglobulins that are passively passed on to the new borne to fight foreign bodies entering the body. During the first 6 months of life, the immune system of the new borne is being developed and therefore, the protection is offered by mothers milk.
One of the benefits of breast milk is that each mother provides custom-designed milk to protect her infant. When a baby is exposed to a new germ, mother’s body manufactures antibodies to that germ. These antibodies show up in her milk and are passed along to her baby. Therefore, breast milk is the only food for the baby. It is complex in its constitution and as the baby grows, the benefits of breast milk continue to provide important protection against infections and diseases. Human milk thus fills in the immunity gap until baby’s own immune system matures to function. The immune system gradually matures during infancy.
During the transition from breast milk to external feeding, the passive protection through breast milk fades away and young children become more vulnerable to infections; during this phase the adaptive immune system begins to develop. The adaptive immunity develops throughout the life as one is exposed to environment filled with germs, pollens, particulate matter etc. The adaptive immune response works with accumulation of immunological memory and produces antibodies to fight bacterial infections. The memory persists into old age but then may fade. Therefore, young children and older people have frequent bouts of infections and allergies.
Breastfeeding lays the foundation for the strong immunity that helps life-long quest for good health and protection. The foundation given by mother needs to be nurtured during growing phase and adulthood. Good nutrition, adequate sleep and physical activity are the main parameters for healthy living. Use of natural remedies such as natural immunomodulators such as turmeric helps maintain the immune axis of our body in the physiological equilibrium; it helps balance the immune response so that body is always ready to combat infections and allergies. We have been given strong foundation by our mothers, let us nurture and preserve it well with wise and smart choices.
AGENCY: REGULUS HEALTHCARE