Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

August Is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

August Is Breastfeeding Awareness Month

Basic nutrition: World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) is celebrated every year to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. "A mother might face problems like, pain while feeding, change in the nipple colour, cracked, sore nipple, Mastitis, Vasospasm, Plug Ducts, tongue or lip tie or cleft palates are some of the significant problems faced by mothers while feeding", Varsha Satyan, counsellor, Lactation Consultant, Member of Medela India LC Club says.

Nerea Ojanga, a midwife and breastfeeding consultant at the Kenyatta National Referral Hospital emphasised that a baby's stomach can not digest anything but breast milk for the first six months, and encouraged working mothers to express milk to sustain breastfeeding.

Breast milk is packed with nutrients that encourage a healthy Immune System and ensures that the baby is protected from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), middle ear infections, diabetes and decreases the risk of developing psychological disorders.

"For infants to survive, grow and develop as they should, they need to be exclusively breastfed". He based his summation of the FOAD Hypothesis (Fatal origin of adult disease) which is premised on the fact that environmental factors particularly nutrition, act in early life to program risks for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adult life.

They also viewed that malnutrition is responsible, directly or indirectly, for about one thirds of deaths among children under five years old.

It has set a national target of 15% in exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

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"The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; after that, complementary feeding is to be introduced. After that, if the baby and mother both mutually chose to continue, breastfeeding can be continued for up to two years of the baby's age", said Dr Asmita Mahajan, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim. It is important to note there are circumstances that make it challenging or not possible to breastfeed.

Pakistan was among the 118 countries which had voted in favour of adopting global code of marketing of breast milk substitutes during the World Health Assembly in May 1981.

"While early initiation of breastfeeding has remained consistently about one in three women between 1990 and today, thus it increased to 38 per cent and later dropped to 33 per cent".

After the first feed, babies are to be breastfed on demand that is whenever the baby shows signs of hunger day and night.

Activities are planned, throughout the state, to draw attention to the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children. To boost exclusive breastfeeding, the Global Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative, led by UNICEF and World Health Organization in collaboration with worldwide partners, are providing leadership to improve breastfeeding rates.

Sayce said for a successful breastfeeding journey every new mom needs a plan which should include what to do in the first hours following birth, and who they can contact for support. Mothers can carry the pump and storage bag to their work place and pump there to keep up their milk supply.

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