World Pneumonia Day: Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of pneumonia in newborns!

Many newborns develop pneumonia. On World Pneumonia Day, understand the importance of breastfeeding because it can reduce the risk of it.
Pneumonia can be complicated to manage in newborns. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Amit Gupta Published: 12 Nov 2022, 08:59 am IST
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The most common cause of death in children under five years old worldwide is pneumonia. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that infants who are nursed exclusively for six months suffer from lower rates of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections than infants who are breastfed just partially for less than six months. Breastfeeding is a crucial intervention for lowering pneumonia morbidity throughout the first 23 months of life.

Everything a baby needs to grow and thrive is in breast milk. It offers a special and tailored combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The following are some of the main advantages of breastfeeding:

  • It is simple to digest and is nutrient-rich for your infant.
  • It strengthens your baby’s immune system and lowers its risk of developing certain diseases.
  • It’s inexpensive.

What makes breastfeeding so crucial?

A child’s immune system is still developing, so the mother’s milk protects against “enteric and other diseases.” Breast milk and colostrum both include components that ward against respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases in newborns. There are substances in human milk that inhibit the Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae adhesion to host cell surface receptors.

Breastfeeding is really crucial for newborn. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Breast milk contains immunological complexes that aid in the development and stimulation of the infant’s immune system. The mother’s milk contains oligosaccharides, immunoglobulin A (IgA), lactoferrin, and other immune cells and protects infants from infections. These components of breast milk give defenses against childhood ailments such as pneumonia and gastroenteritis.

Also read: An expert explains why covid-19 pneumonia can be deadly in many ways

Breast milk has a range of nutritional advantages, including:

1. It has anti-infective and immune-boosting antibodies in it.
2. It has the ideal ratio of fat, sugar, water, protein, and vitamins for the growth of your baby.
3. It encourages babies to grow weight in a healthy way.
4. It adapts as your baby grows to satisfy their nutritional demands.
5. It has ingredients that naturally calm your baby.

Protect your newborn baby with breastfeeding. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Numerous studies have also found that young infants who appear with pneumonia and diarrhea may be significantly more likely to suffer from severe malnutrition, have a cough, and experience both short and long-term hypoxemia if they are not breastfed throughout the newborn period. The results highlight how crucial it is to keep breastfeeding throughout the newborn and early infant stages. The majority of medical organizations advise exclusively breastfeeding infants for at least six months.

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About the Author

Dr Amit Gupta is a well-known paediatrician and neonatologist, with a rich experience of 25 years in treatment of neonates and paediatric patients. He is a Consultant Paediatrics at Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad. His areas of interest are premature newborn and infant care including their vaccination and screening; growth issues; respiratory and allergic illnesses and tropical infection. He is a senior faculty for diplomat national board trainees (postgraduate course in paediatric). He is also a course coordinator and faculty for the fellowship program under the aegis of IAP-Neonatology chapter (for training post graduated Paediatrician in the field of newborn care). ...Read More

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