Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Breastfeeding vital for babies' sound growth: speakers

Breastfeeding vital for babies' sound growth: speakers

Proclaimed by Mayor Donald Cravins in 2013, that August be recognized as National Breastfeeding Month by the City of Opelousas and the Parish of St. Landry, and because World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally August 1-7, Opelousas General Health System plans to celebrate by hosting a free Community Baby Shower. "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.

"Breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months after birth and should not be replaced by formula milk, juice or water".

When babies consume breast milk, they are less likely to develop respiratory illnesses, diabetes, and other diseases.

"Increasing exclusive breastfeeding rates can avert 100,000 infant deaths annually in Nigeria and add more than 150 million dollars to the Nigerian economy each year". A miniscule 0.6% increase in exclusively breastfed children was observed between 2007 and 2013, from 37.1% to 37.7%.

"World Breastfeeding Week gives us an opportunity to further educate people about the benefits of breastfeeding to save lives and improve the overall health of infants and their mothers", she said.

Starting within one hour of birth, a child can be breastfed until the age of 2 years. "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 also offers a quiet relaxed time for mother and baby to bond.

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Now in Ethiopia, only 58 percent of mothers are aware of the significance of breastfeeding for children till six months without any additional food and water, she stated.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 40% of infants under six months are exclusively breastfed globally.

Speakers at a post-rally discussion in Rajshahi on Thursday mentioned that sufficient breastfeeding is of paramount importance for physical and mental development of babies.

Breast milk is full of the nutrients required by the baby. Many women also fear that breastfeeding wilts their breasts, while research has proved otherwise, thereby busting the myth that breastfeeding leads to drooping of breasts.

Beyond combating marketing of breast milk substitutes, there is need to invest in policies and programmes that support women's breastfeeding.

Mothers also benefit because breast feeding helps with postpartum depression because of the hormones produced during breastfeeding. Early initiation of breastfeeding can prevent deaths caused due to diarrhoea and pneumonia.

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