August 21, 2017

Breastfeeding can boost economies and save children's lives

02 August 2017, 05:32 | Katie Chavez

Nursing your baby has significant health benefits

Health professionals, mothers, learning many benefits of breastfeeding

The collective, comprising some 20 groups led by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, also called for countries to enact better workplace breastfeeding policies and control the marketing of breastmilk substitutes. "It is also one of the most effective global services to curb malnutrition".

Muluzi explained that as Malawi is launching the breastfeeding week, there is need to reflect on good breastfeeding practices and ensure that they are followed.

Ajah-mong said that the enactment of the laws would protect mothers while practicing exclusive breastfeeding.

The paediatrician commended worldwide bodies such as "Save The Children", "World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as local Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for their support in making sure that exclusive breastfeeding was sustained in the country. Besides breastfeeding the young ones, lactating mothers should also be given proper nutrition supplements".

Dr Raghuram Mallaiah, director, Neonatology, Fortis La Femme said, "There are a number of instances in which mothers who have delivered preterm babies are unable to breast feed their babies due to prematurity and stress of having a preterm baby".

No country including India meets the recommended standards for breastfeeding.

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The theme for this year's breastfeeding week, "Sustaining Breastfeeding Together", was used to mobilise advocates, activists, decision makers, media and young people for long term partnership in protecting, promoting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life without water.

World Breastfeeding Week is observed from August 1 to 7. By six months, only 34% of UK babies are receiving any breast milk, compared with 49% in the United States and 71% in Norway. During breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to her baby and strengthen the immune system. Even if you have difficulty breastfeeding your baby, remember that you can always take help so that your baby does not miss out on those nutrients that your milk has.

"There are many myths about breastfeeding; some claim that breastfeeding could make breasts sag, which is untrue, another claim is that formula milk is the same as breast milk and that's totally wrong".

They also recommend breastfeeding along with age-appropriate solid foods until a child reaches at least 24 months of age.

"For mothers, the same principles apply; the more they breastfeed, the greater the benefits are as it lowers the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and obesity".

Further, community needs to be made aware about the contributions of breast-feeding to maternal health like prevention of diabetes, etc and that breast-feeding plays a significant role in addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), nutrition, education, poverty, inclusive economic growth and reducing inequalities.

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