Until a 2-year-old child, also known as the first 1,000 days, is a very critical golden age. Because, this period greatly affects the health and intelligence of children until he grows up. Unfortunately, one in three children has malnutrition in the form of stunting or short body children in the first 1,000 days of life. As it turns out, one of the reasons is the exclusive benefit of breastfeeding which is not maximized for up to six months, or in other words exclusive breastfeeding babies are too early.
Why should babies under six months be exclusively breastfed?
Babies need breast milk and food intake enough to increase nutritional status during growth. If the intake is lacking, the child’s growth and development will certainly be hampered, even carried away until he is an adult.
UNICEF and WHO recommend exclusive breastfeeding until the baby is six months old. Why is that? This is because ASI contains complete nutrients that are easily digested by the small and sensitive baby’s stomach. That is why, only breastfeeding is enough to meet the nutritional needs of infants under six months. The reason is, ASI contains special proteins that can enhance your child’s immune system. The more routinely you give exclusive breastfeeding, the more protected your child’s body from various diseases.
Exclusive breastfeeding babies are too early to increase the risk of stunting
know that exclusive breastfeeding is good for the health of the baby, in fact not a few mothers who provide complementary breastfeeding (MPASI) is too early for their baby, aka before your little one is six months old. The causes vary, ranging from the influence of the mother or father-in-law, the baby does not want to breastfeed, breast milk is difficult to get out, etc.
Unfortunately, allowing an exclusive breastfeeding baby to leave too early can increase the risk of stunting in children. This is evidenced by a study involving 189 mothers and children aged 1 to 24 months from a rural area in Mexico.
As many as 37 percent of infants aged 1-6 months get exclusive breastfeeding, 16 percent of infants consume exclusive breast milk mixtures and formulas, and Another 6 percent consume formula milk only. When observed from month to month, the number of exclusive breastfeeding continued to decline.
In a sample of one-month-old infants, 73 percent received exclusive breastfeeding. However, as soon as the baby is two to four months old, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding has dropped dramatically to 30 percent because the baby has begun to be given MPASI.
Experts also found that as many as 10.1 percent of children who consumed MPASI experienced stunting. short. So, it can be concluded that giving MPASI too early can increase the risk of stunting in children.
Benefits of exclusive breastfeeding to prevent stunting in children
Stunting is a condition when children experience growth disorders thus causing him to be shorter than his age friends. Quoted from the WHO page, this condition is the impact of malnutrition and infections that have occurred over the years. When babies begin to be introduced to food before the age of six months, this will make the baby more interested in these foods than ASI. Babies will be full first and do not have time to drink breast milk.
Over time, the frequency of breastfeeding will continue to decrease until eventually your child will no longer want to drink breast milk. As a result, babies lose important nutrients found in breast milk so that their growth becomes obstructed.
In addition, the introduction of other foods before the age of four months can also increase the risk of digestive disorders in infants. Your child can experience malnutrition and be susceptible to various infectious diseases during his first two years.
To prevent stunting in your child, make sure your child reaps exclusive breastfeeding benefits up to the age of six months. Enjoy first breastfeeding periods before weaning time arrives. After a child is six months old, then you can give MPASI to meet the nutritional needs of the child every day.
By maximizing the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, this will prevent stunting in the baby. Your baby’s growth and development will be much more optimal and not easily hurt in his growth period.