Pneumonia is a common and life-threatening illness that numerous babies are susceptible to suffer from. It can also be defined as an infection of the lungs causing cough, fever and breathing issues. This disease is either caused by a bacteria or virus and may require super specialty expertise of a pulmonologist and a neonatologist. Viral Pneumonia is more common in children and most babies can make a good recovery from the illness if the right care and treatment is provided to them early. We should be aware that pneumonia is one of the leading reasons of infant mortality in our country hence it is important for us to know about the simplest preventive measure that can ensure that your baby remains healthy – Breastfeeding.
Breastfed babies have more immunity:
Breastfeeding is an important aspect to protect your baby against life-threatening illnesses. It provides natural immunity to the baby and helps it guard itself against numerous diseases lifelong with the formation of antibodies. It is said to provide protection for painful ear infections, upper and lower respiratory ailments, allergies, intestinal disorders, colds, viruses, staph, strep and e coli infections, diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, many childhood cancers, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, salmonella, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS) as well as lifetime protection from Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, some lymphomas, insulin-dependent diabetes, and for girls, breast and ovarian cancer, to list a few.
Breastfeeding protects your children from Pneumonia:
Studies highlight that babies that have been breastfed for only 4 or less than 6 months are 4 times more likely to develop pneumonia during the first two years of their birth. Mothers who breastfeed their baby for 6 months have better immunity levels and are at lesser risk of suffering from Pneumonia.
Research also highlights that the action of breastfeeding provides extended protection to the body against respiratory illnesses. In addition to the passive protection that is provided to the baby through hygienic surroundings, breast milk provides the infant’s immune system a multi-faceted response – maturational, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antimicrobial.
Tips for New Mothers:
- Ensure that you breastfeed your baby within 30 minutes of their birth. The first milk ‘colostrums’ is thick and rich in antibodies. This is a must.
- Ensure that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for 6 months. This includes only breastfeeding as a food source for your baby.
- Before taking any medication during or post pregnancy, discuss the same with your doctor.