Research shows that breastfed local babies suffered from fewer infectious diseases. Thus the benefits of mother’s milk are obvious.
Those babies who are born in the affluent countries of the West are healthy even if bottlefed. That is because communicable diseases have gotten wiped out. But for those infants born to indigenous people, infectious diseases remain a health hazard.
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For them getting breastfed is a must. Antibodies get transferred to their immune systems via the colostrum in the mother’s milk. This ensures total protection.
Indigenous infants in Canada suffer from various ailments. These include GIT infections, pneumonia and ear maladies. These babies are more prone to sudden infant death syndrome. But when they got breastfed, their chances of contracting these illnesses got diminished.
Asthma and allergies got reduced to nil thanks to mother’s milk. It is the ideal liquid food for babies. Breast milk contains immunity-boosting agents that fight bacteria and viruses.
Indigenous women breastfed their infants for a longer time than non-indigenous women. Programs and schemes that promote breastfeeding thus reduce chances of infections among infants.
"Interventions that promote, protect and support breastfeeding may prevent a substantial proportion of infection and mortality in Indigenous infants," Dr. McIsaac, a post-doctoral fellow in epidemiology, wrote in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
Especially Inuit babies suffered fewer infections after they got breastfed by their mothers. Reduction in incidences of the diseases occurred. And hospitalization cases too underwent a sharp decline after the babies got the nourishment.
This was what nature and nurture had meant for them to have. It was their birthright. Nature is never wrong. It means us well. It is we who transgress against its rules and thus cause our own ruination.
Research has also pointed at breastfeeding being beneficial for the mother. She will have a lesser chance of contracting breast cancer if she breastfeeds her infant.
"One approach may be to promote breastfeeding to the women themselves," she said. "However, we recommend shifting the bulk of the responsibility for failure to breastfeed away from the woman and onto the health care system, where hospitals and community-based health programs should take the lead."
In the past, the only choice before most mothers was to breastfeed their babies. And that was the way it is meant to be. Only later on did bottlefeeding become the norm. Everybody knows that there is no bond greater than the mother-infant symbiosis. And it is exemplified in the act of breastfeeding.
The child also acquires its language in a primitive and primordial way. That is through the mother’s milk. It is no coincidence that the word for mother in all languages starts with an “m”. That is because that is the sound an infant makes while suckling at its mother’s breast.
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The little baby gets its identity as a human being via intimate bonding with its mother. And the benefits of immunity from infectious diseases is just one of the payoffs.